Four days into the new year, Lizzo released the first great song of 2019. The Minneapolis singer-rapper-flautist specializes in propulsive self-empowerment anthems — feel-good songs about feeling good about yourself — and “Juice” may be her finest yet, a near-perfect retro-funk nugget that would have felt just right on a mirror-balled dance floor in 1982. Over a burnished throwback groove, Lizzo praises the woman in the mirror, sips Grey Goose and mocks a man who slides into her DMs. Produced by Ricky Reed (who plays guitar, accompanied by a full band and three-piece horn section), the sound is as instantly likable as Lizzo herself. If life were fair, this would be as big as “Uptown Funk.”
The video has the exact same sense of retro fun as the song, with Lizzo parodying Jane Fonda workout tapes, QVC ads, soft-focus lotion commercials and other hallmarks of Eighties cheese. Gleeful throwback songs can feel like lightweight goofs. This feels like something more, thanks especially to Lizzo’s delivery, which is both witty and full of fire. “I’m the pudding in the proof,” she sings. You believe her because she clearly believes it.