" An R&B album that boyfriends will be taking girlfriends to see"
She patiently waited for the spotlight & now it's staying..
Stand out Tracks: "Love Galore," "The Weekend," "Drew Barrymore," "Doves in the Wind"
Release Date: June 9th, 2017
She patiently waited as she saw her label mates release their debuts and then their sophomore albums while she kept her buzz going with her mixtape Z from 2014. Finally in 2017, 3 years later SZA gets her big break as the attention is turned on her to release her debut album Ctrl. In a way, sitting back and letting her label mates absolutely control the music industry for years was the marketing campaign any artist would want when releasing their debut album. Just being affiliated to Kendrick, Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and Isaiah Rashad is going to prematurely establish her as an artist to look out for. But premature it wasn't, because this album is quality TDE. Made up of 14 tracks with 4 features with the likes of Travis Scott, Isaiah Rashad, Kendrick Lamar and lastly James Fauntleroy. Her album can be described by one look at her style. A small pretty girl with baggy clothes. She the homie who absorbed everything around her and still kept it grounded to make her album her own setting her apart from her TDE artists, which is a hard camp to standout from. The queen of TDE blending neo-soul with alternative R&B caked in rap influences.
The album kicks off with "Supermodel" where SZA takes up a confident flow sounding like she finally gets her shot to flex on them. At times I hear Rihanna in "Needed Me" as SZA plays with the tempo of her flow throughout the song over the chilled out guitar strings. The following song "Love Galore" with Travis Scott is a sure favourite on the album. SZA's singing approach with Travis Scott's auto tuned rapping contrast well on the track about past loves/affairs. You know Travis is on the track when his ad-libs are heard scattered throughout the song. I've never heard such a chilled out song go so hard at the same time. From a Travis feature to a Kendrick Lamar feature, SZA brings us a song about pussy titled, "Doves in the Wind." Another chilled out song with head nodding drums proving why she's on TDE as her harmonies and Kendrick's raps steal the song. "Drew Barrymore," the cut that SZA performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live is another favourite on the album. A gloomy feel to this song with SZA singing about insecurity and self-esteem issues, but with a hopeful after-taste. You can watch the video for this single below. In the following two tracks: "Prom" and "The Weekend," SZA channels her inner pop star, reminiscent of an early Destiny's Child. In " Go Gina" and "Garden (Say It Like That)" she returns to her interchangeable singing flow dropping knowledge from her past experiences in life. It continues on the third single of the album, "Broken Clocks" singing on the difficulty of having a balanced life and living day by day instead of dreading on past events. "Anything" features a distorted beat resembling that of Kanye's Yeezus. A smooth R&B cut is next with James Fauntleroy demonstrating why he's recruited so frequently on albums as he sings in the only interlude of the album, "Wavy." In "Normal Girl" SZA touches on her love life in how she considers herself a player instead of a 'normal girl' into the romance. "Pretty Little Birds" is the second last song on the album sporting an eclectic arrangement of jazz sounds up until Isaiah Rashad hops in with his distant vocals closing the song. The final song on the album is "20 Something" illustrating her experience as a '20-something' year old. The 20s are years plagued with ambiguity and uncertainty on where your life is headed. She connects with her fans opening up that artists feel the same even if they do have a career in music. Nevertheless, there is something alluring about it as they are usually the most exciting years and uncertainty is the foreshadower of surpises. SZA's debut shows us a relatable young singer who has no intentions of planning too far ahead in life and just lives in the moment as happiness starts now. A dope blend of R&B, soul and hip-hop. Word up TDE.