SZA Lives Up To The Hype And Delivers With CTRL
Showered with praise and attention, SZA shines brightest amongst some of the biggest stars on her debut studio album
It’s been a good minute since SZA has dropped a project. Her last being Z which was released in 2014. Z was her debut EP under Top Dawg Entertainment and it was an undeniable success considering the fact that it featured artists like Chance The Rapper, Isaiah Rashad, and Kendrick Lamar.
Three years later, fans have been blessed by the hip-hop gods with SZA’s CTRL. In these past few years, SZA has garnered a lot of attention and respect in the music industry. This may be because she’s known as one of the most creative female artists and can also be because she is part of the well-respected TDE, who’s artists include Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, and Ab-Soul. With that said there has been a lot of hype and anticipation for SZA’s next project, so let’s get into CTRL.
SZA opens CTRL with “Supermodel”; a dreamy introduction to the album. Behind SZA’s angelic voice you will hear a simple guitar riff that blend’s ever so smoothly. Here SZA sings about breaking up with her significant other and admits she needs him despite confessing to infidelity. This song is so heavy lyrically, but yet so minimal instrumentally. This combination creates a beautiful blend, making it evident that SZA did not hold her emotions back when creating this album.
“Love Galore” is the next track on CTRL. This song was released before the album was, but it fits perfectly on this album. Featuring Travis Scott, this track provides listeners with a smooth combination of Scott’s autotune singing and SZA’s lovely voice.
“Doves In The Wind” follows up, including another amazing feature, this time by Kendrick Lamar. This track revolves around the theme of “pussy”. Yes, you heard that right. SZA begins singing about how she has much more to offer other than “pussy” before Lamar comes in rapping about how men will do anything for some pussy, whether people “overcompensate too much for the pussy” or “throw all kinda shade for the pussy”. Anyways, this song spreads a good message, that women bring more to the table rather than their body.
SZA then blesses fans with an anthem, “Drew Barrymore”. She goes all in and absolutely sings her heart out. It’s so good that it could be our new national anthem despite its depressing lyrics.
The second to last track is “Pretty Little Birds”, featuring Isaiah Rashad. After going through this album the first time, it feels like it should have included more upbeat songs to shield the listeners from falling asleep (In between “Doves in the wind” and “Pretty Little Birds”). But give it another listen or two, or three (who’s counting). You will realize that upbeat tunes and amazing features is not the intention of the album.
Tracks like “Prom”, “Garden (Say It Like Dat)”, and “Go Gina” (that have no features) include more of an upbeat sound that you can vibe and head bop to. But CTRL is a heartbreak album and has no intentions to be played at a party unless you and your friends are absolute downers. Given SZA’s past projects and singles, it is obvious that she loves to sing about love and heartbreak.
After this album, SZA has shown many comparisons to singer Frank Ocean. Others can agree:
This is just an opinion worthy of debate, but this is definitely something that SZA and Frank Ocean fans should think about when listening to these artists.
In conclusion, SZA is a standalone artist regardless of her featured artists or whoever people want to compare her to. To fully appreciate CTRL, I suggest you listen to it more than once.
Listen to songs from the album Ctrl, including "Supermodel", "Love Galore (feat. Travis Scott)", "Doves In the Wind…geo.itunes.apple.com
Follow Lede In on Twitter.