Solána Imani Rowe better known as SZA, dropped her new and anticipated album Ctrl on Friday, June 9th. As much as it has been pushed back, it was well worth the wait.
The New Jersey-based R&B singer has gained many successes with her music career. Signing to TDE (Top Dawg Entertainment) in 2013 to be alongside with artists Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Isaiah Rashad, and Jay Rock, SZA is the only female in the group.
She released S in 2014 Z in 2014, and now Ctrl in 2017. The singer-songwriter portrays elements of soul, R&B, rap, and chill wave. She hasn’t dropped a project since 2014, so her fans were extremely antsy to hear her new album finally drop.
Ctrl represents SZA growing, and flowing with how things are currently in her life, but more importantly, it’s about her sexuality and relationships with others as well as herself. With this project, she dug deep into her personal life and feelings, especially on relationships and showed the whole world who she has become. From tracks such as Love Galore featuring Travis Scott, where she speaks on a possible past lover, and the regrets she has with that person. Ranging from a more trappy-based production with Travis auto-tune enhanced raps, she quickly switches it up with tracks like guitar induced track Drew Berrymore. With independence for women around the world, this track is influenced by Drew Barrymore the actor (obviously); she is also paving the way for other women to honest and openly express their lives, and themselves as they genuinely are.
SZA shows her low self-esteem in the track and questions her ‘womanliness’. Being with someone due to being lonely and not realizing what she’s worth. She continues to reflect on relationships in tracks like Supermodel, a letter-track where she confesses to sleeping with the man she’s seeing and his best friend while he’s away. She has comittment issues when it comes to dating and staying with one person. She isn’t comfortable with being alone and questions why she can’t be isolated and be fine.
She keeps questioning her life, with the pop-disco-y track Prom, she feels as if she hasn’t done enough in her lifetime yet. Not only has she showed versatility on her album, but the lyrics range from relationships, love, sexuality, and just life in general. The base topic though, that everyone can agree on, is SZA’s complications with other people. She tends to not keep one lover in check due to certain situations, and expresses how they can be a distraction to her in Go Gina; her catchier anthem on growing as a person but still staying true to herself. Men seem to be distractions to her well-being and grind, but SZA expresses what a lot of women go through, and it’s something to be deeply admired for to admit.
As the album goes on, Garden (Say It Like Dat) is a love track about how she feels for someone, but is afraid that if they knew the real her, they wouldn’t love her unconditionally. Finding a balance between her work and love life has been a struggle that she sings about in Broken Clocks; with the beat sampled from Toronto’s artist River Tiber’s West single.
She further expresses her sexuality in Normal Girl, but gets more personal about wanting to make her father proud and her desire to be a ‘normal’ girl. She knows though that she will never be the type of woman that is portrayed as ‘normal’ in today’s society with the current standard of beauty and personality a woman ‘should have.’
20 Something; the last track on SZA’s Ctrl has tied together the whole project on admitting she doesn’t have her life together. A lot in her life has been crazy, and she confesses that she hopes that being in her 20’s doesn’t kill her. With being completely vulnerable in this project, SZA finally shares her most personable project to date for her fans to relate to with a real sense of herself for once. She expresses her life and experiences in a literal sense, (unlike in her last projects), giving others more of an avenue to feel supported and comfortable with who they are, and what they are going through in life too.

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