In 2022, Lizzo was invited to the Library Of Congress, in Washington, DC. The Library is home to an enormous flute collection and Lizzo was asked to play one of its rarest, a crystal flute once belonging to President James Madison. Lizzo had been playing the flute since she was a young girl, and the footage of her with the crystal flute is a beautiful expression of North America’s past and present finding common ground – something which, in their own genre-spanning way, many of the best Lizzo songs also tend towards.
“When people look back at the crystal flute, they’re going to see me playing it,” Lizzo has said of this moment, which cemented her place among the most influential female musicians of her generation. “They’re going to see that it was owned by James Madison, but they’re going to see how far we’ve had to come for someone like me to be playing it in the nation’s capital, and I think that that’s a cool thing. I don’t want to leave history in the hands of people who uphold oppression and racism. My job as someone who has a platform is to reshape history.”
Lizzo’s music is celebrated for its joy and positivity, yet such optimism often comes from dark places: the need to build your own self-esteem while oppressive forces in society try to shut you down. “Nobody would believe that I was happy and confident all of the time,” she has said. “Saying words like ‘uplifting’ makes it sound saccharine and corny, but there’s a rawness to my lyrics that makes it more than uplifting.”
Heartbreak and difficulties are also in evidence across the best Lizzo songs, yet the artist always looks for the learning as well as the melancholy. “I’m not going to say anything negative in my music because I don’t want anything negative in my life,” she has said. “But I’ll speak on things that have happened, I’ll talk about hard times, and how I got through it.”
Here, then, are the best Lizzo songs: expressions of a unique life that has had a universal impact.
Listen to the best of Lizzo, here, and check out our best Lizzo songs, below.
20: The Sign (from ‘Special’, 2022)
Lizzo’s fourth album, Special, was highly anticipated. Speaking at the March 2022 South By Southwest festival, Lizzo announced that the album was “coming soon” and that “it’s good. I worked real hard on it, so it better be good.” Opener The Sign absolutely let listeners know that Lizzo was back and in full effect. It’s a kinetic groove that sets up the awe-inspiring album that follows.