By | June 15, 2017 at 7:35 am | No comments | Editors Choice, MUSIC, New Releases | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


While listening to SZA’s CTRL, I found the hairs on my arms stand erect as SZA sang several aspects of my life that I have otherwise struggled to voice. A concept album that pairs SZA’s confessional RnB-Trap songs with her mother’s lecture on having control intermitted between each track, CTRL serves as a memoir for SZA and a lesson for all of us, as it portrays a chapter in her life that we all go through or are currently experiencing – one where we become self-aware of our flaws and strengths, and we begin to regain control.

At the beginning of the album, while listening to “Supermodel,” I was immediately touched when her mother says, “That’s my greatest fear, that if I lost control or did not have control, things would just, you know, be fatal.”

It’s true. A lack of control in any aspect of our lives is overwhelming, emotionally draining, and can kill off our joy. I’ve been there. I know how it feels to lose control and hit rock bottom; I know you know how it feels too.

With lyrics that are raw and explicit, SZA truthfully showcases her insecurities, flaws and even her strengths throughout CTRL. Displaying an array of emotions through blends of lofi, RnB-trap sounds with some more upbeat ones, SZA effectively covers topics that are prevalent with romance and the youth today, such as temporary and ambiguous lovers (“Supermodel”, “Broken Clocks”), the thoughts of being a side chick (“The Weekend”), and the emotions behind casual relationships that lead nowhere (“Love Galore”). Aside from the typical topic of love in every RnB album, SZA also explores her identity, such as in “Drew Barrymore” where she points out her loneliness and insecurities and how they get in the way of her desire to seduce an ex-lover, and in “Prom,” where she promises to herself that she will become more confident with age. She even covers female empowerment in “Doves in the Wind”, and how a female’s true control over men is due to the power of the pussy, as most men desperately seek it. With all of these tracks covering SZA’s ideals of romance and identity, this album becomes a reflection of her own life at “20 Something” – the most pivotal & defining ages of our life when we transition from teenager to an adult, and we experience the most pain and self-reflection. She come’s full circle in the album as she sings, “Praying that 20 Somethings don’t kill me.” I am praying for that too.

 In a world where all our actions seem to be influenced or determined by everything we see, SZA sings to us about finding control within ourselves, and the cover art reflects this. The use of t.v.’s and computers in the cover art places her on the forefront of media expectations of how an individual should act, behave, or even express themselves. Though the album seems mainly directed at women, this album truly encompasses anyone who is learning to acquire a sense of control in their life outside of these expectations. 

Whether you’re an old fan or new fan of SZA’s, a 20-something year old or someone in need of some self-reflection, CTRL is a memoir for any one going through the motions and trying to regain control.

Listen to this album now, and watch the video for “Love Galore” feat. Travis Scott below.

Words by Caroline Cardenas.

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