St. Louis songstress, SZA, recently dropped her debut full-length studio album, “Ctrl”. Although her progress and improvement as an artist are evident, she’s maintained her signature sound that combines neo-soul, chillwave, and alternative R&B. What makes this tracklist cohesive are the common themes throughout. Stories of love, sexuality, insecurity, and failed relationships were seemingly ripped from her diary and recorded because of how intimate and raw they are.
One of the most striking things about this album is how candid she is about her private life, airing out her own dirty laundry as well as that of some of her exes. The first track, “Supermodel”, begins on a soft note and one verse in, SZA reveals that she had been “banging” her man’s “homeboy” after he left her hanging on Valentine’s Day. Yikes. The boy troubles continue in “Love Galore” and “Broken Clocks”, but despite all of her relationship woes, some songs highlight the joys of being in love and wanting to be emotionally open, like “Garden (Say It Like Dat)” and “Pretty Little Birds”.
Much of “Ctrl” discusses the complexities of SZA’s sexuality. On one side, “The Weekend” is the side chick anthem. On the other side, “Normal Girl” expresses the fear of her sex life overpowering her love life. Overall, SZA’s highly anticipated album is the coming of age tale of her artistry. It’s honest. It’s provocative. And it was definitely worth the wait…Let’s just hope we won’t have to wait as long for her next full-length project.