Ctrl by SZA
Sultry. Raunchy. Raw. Soulful.
Two weeks in and SZA’s debut album is still on repeat and highly talked about. Not that it’s a surprise, she has the right combination of “seductive lyrics, wavy beats and “What did she just say?” quotable phrases to keep us coming back. And have some of our favorites collaborating with the beaut. Keeping true to her earlier projects she gives us tracks with deep metaphors, catchy hooks and thought-provoking lines that make us question if she had spied on our previous relationships.
In the opening song “Supermodel” she confesses to her ex about secretly sleeping with his homeboy on Valentine’s day. Underlying the fact that she said something we could never, unless you’re a savage like that. She makes the song human with words we often feel at times when we feel we aren’t enough, ironically naming the title after one of the vainest occupations. The intro sets the tone for a reoccurring theme throughout the album; sketchy relationships with shady men, self-reflection and having or giving control.
And from the wave that I’ve seen via twitter more than a lot of us can relate to Sza and her choices in men. Countless “Why you bother me when you know you got a woman?” (“Love galore”) tweets have flown around as subtle hints. Men and women can relate to being a part of a love triangle and playing their side role as in the controversial “The Weekend.” But the opposite sex isn’t to get us distracted because “Doves in the Wind” lays it out that there is more between the legs than just your sexual organs. The ones that don’t get it were addressed in a cold verse by Kendrick Lamar, where he made sure it was known real niggas aren’t doing circus tricks and getting sidetracked by pu–y.
My personal favorites being “Normal Girl” and “20 something.” Both songs visit pain from relationships and friendships that have passed. Each track gives us an honest look into her feelings on intimate issues. Things that plague us from day to day that we may not always feel comfortable expressing. Sza strips down to the bare minimum and exposes our insecurities in songs like “Prom”, “Garden” and “Wavy” while asking the “critics” to give us space and have patience as us “20 somethings” get our shit together. But ultimately making it known if you can’t deal you don’t have to stay around and pretend to.
Although the theme of being in control or taking back control that was once given underlines every song, songs like “Go Gina” confirm there is a such thing as having too much control. With a catchy hook, she lets us know that its ok to let go and get down.
Notable tracks like “Anything”, “Drew Barrymore” and “Pretty Little Birds” make clear that our efforts are not invisible. Through lyrics expressing vulnerable thoughts about not being someone’s standard of beauty or feeling inferior, Ctrl puts you in all the feelings you love and the ones you don’t care to put energy into. Sza definitely made this album worth the wait and with her ability make timeless music, this album is worth playing far beyond just this summer.
-Title is an excerpt from a quote from an interview Sza recently did with Everyday Struggle-
All images from Giphy.com