It’s like a booster seat for the self-esteem.
When Lizzo sings, her voice and the spirits of those within earshot tend to get elevated in unison.
“If I’m shinin’, everybody gonna shine,” the pop-R&B mood-brightener explains on “Juice,” a funk-lite pep talk that’ll save you money on a life coach.
It was the lead single off “Cuz I Love You,” one of the year’s most celebrated albums. The record earned Lizzo eight 2020 Grammy nominations as she vies with Billie Eilish for the mantle of 2019’s biggest breakout music star.
Lizzo’s appeal is rooted, in part, in the time-honored thrill of seeing an underdog get her day on her terms. This proudly plus-size 31-year-old has navigated the ups and downs of an industry that hasn’t always welcomed her with open arms — “Love” is her third album, after all — while keeping her sense of self intact, remaining far more elated than jaded while doing so.
None of this is to suggest that “Love” is all reassuring slaps on the back and you-go-girl evangelism. There are songs of heartache, of longing, of not fitting in — ultimately, though, Lizzo’s overriding message is not to expend too much energy in the pursuit of the latter.
“Love me or hate me / Ooh, I ain’t changing,” she summarizes on “Exactly How I Feel.”
No need to, really. It’s working.
Lizzo will cap a monster 2019 with another major accomplishment: headlining a big New Year’s Eve show at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
That’s just one of many star-studded NYE concerts in town. A quick guide to the rest:
Lady Gaga, Park Theater at Park MGM
Whether riding a giant mechanical robot, descending from the rafters with keytar in hand or covering David Bowie’s “I’m Afraid of Americans” from within her keyboardist’s circular synth, Lady Gaga has spent the past year presiding over a buffet of visual ostentation via her blockbuster “Enigma” residency. During her most recent run of 11 sold-out shows from Oct. 17 to Nov. 9, which also featured her stripped-down “Jazz & Piano” performances, Gaga drew 60,684 fans for a combined gross of nearly $19 million, an outsize production begetting a box office just as robust.
Journey, Colosseum at Caesars Palace
New year, old standards: Jukebox heroes Journey continue to get all hands-y with still more “Lovin,’ Touchin,’ Squeezin’ ” and their deep collection of karaoke staples. The future is uncertain, the enduring appeal of Journey’s rock ’n’ roll comfort food much less so.
Christina Aguilera, Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort
“Let There Be Love” — we’re talking boatloads of it, like, a fleet of cargo ships with hulls full of the stuff — when this volcanic vocalist turns the page on 2019 with a voice as big as any Mount Charleston-steep NYE bar tab.
Ozuna, The Pearl at the Palms
“Baila Baila Baila” into 2020 with this reggaeton superstar who was YouTube’s most-viewed artist in 2018. The Puerto Rican Latin trap chart-topper has maintained that momentum this year. His latest record, the sci-fi-themed “Nibiru,” is as star-heavy as its subject matter with guest spots from Diddy, Snoop Dogg, Swae Lee, Nicky Jam, DJ Snake and others.
Maroon 5, Mandalay Bay Events Center
For the fourth year in a row — and fifth of the past six — these pop rockers return to the Mandalay Bay Events Center for a New Year’s Eve run. “Vegas is the place to be on New Year’s,” Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine told the Review-Journal prior to the band’s NYE shows here in 2017. “It really has become a hardcore tradition for us. We turn it into a party for ourselves, too. We invite a lot of our friends out from Los Angeles — and from all over. My family usually comes in from Utah. It’s a huge party.” And you’re invited! You have to pay, but still …
Stick Figure, Brooklyn Bowl at The Linq
A bevy of big names will be hitting town for the NYE festivities. The only one who might come attired in a flea collar? Cocoa the Tour Dog. The outgoing pooch frequently joins reggae rockers Stick Figure on stage when the band performs, as she did when the group played at Life is Beautiful in 2017. Pass the Milk-Bones.
Third Eye Blind, House of Blues
“I want to cause trouble. I want to (mess) (stuff) up. That’s how I feel,” Third Eye Blind frontman Stephan Jenkins told the R-J prior to an August gig at the Palms. “I want to ignite that emotional spark in people that they transfer to everything else in their life. That’s my goal.” To this end, the radio-friendly alt-rockers released a bracing new album,” Screamer,” in October. Time to raise fists and flutes of Champagne alike.