To Close Out Women’s Week here at Everything’s Magnificent, I want to finish with what is arguably this best R&B album of this year, SZA’s CTRL. This was probably one of my most anticipated albums of 2017 and it definitely paid off.
CTRL, the abbreviations for Control on a keyboard. SZA sits calmly in front of desolate computers, keyboards, and printers, reminders of old technology. CTRL is an album that reflects the complicated nature of life in your twenties. The album reflects a women growing up and battling with her own insecurities and looking for the purpose of control.
Truthfully, there is something amazingly alluring about SZA. She has a combination of natural beauty, tom-boyish charm, and freedom. You honestly see her as a woman who is really learning how to get comfortable in her own skin. To me, SZA is the evolution of the musical legacies of Rihanna, Jhene Aiko, and Erykah Badu; A group of women comfortable being themselves and not caring about opinions otherwise. SZA is a reflection of the modern women’s quest for self and fulfillment.
Supermodel is an ode to a lover that broke her heart. She manages to weave wanting, jealously, spitefulness, reminiscence, and frustration with herself together in a pot. She beautifully displays the dichotomy of hurt and love. She sings the battle with herself over a simple acoustic track that reminds me of a Frank Ocean song.
Love Galore ft. Travis Scott is gorgeous song that SZA glides over that continues a theme of heartbreak and relationships. She highlights her own pettiness and confusion with dealing with an inconsistent man but at the same time, she willingly in placing herself in this position. Weekend love is a common theme of SZA getting what she wants, good sex. Travis Scott comes in nicely and adds a decent amount of texture to the sunny, tropical beat.
Doves in the Wind ft. Kendrick Lamar is a love letter about vagina. But, at the same time, it’s about how women have so much more to add than just sex. SZA references Forest Gump and how unconcerned he was with sex and how it happened naturally over time. SZA and Kendrick go into detail about the lengths men go for sex and how misguided it is. Then, at the end she talks about her wanting someone who is worthy of her body. The boom bap beat is definitely influenced by Kendrick’s Damn and they both sound comfortable and cozy while making a song that only they could.
Drew Barrymore is an extremely vulnerable song over a coasting instrumental about female insecurities. She poses the question of being “warm enough” or good enough for her significant other inside and out. She highlights the things her significant other doesn’t like and fires back about karma will get him/her for making her feel that way. She goes back and forth with her own value and questions her attachment towards a difficult relationship.
Prom is SZA’s version of Streetlights by Kanye West. It’s a self-reflective track about struggling to mature at the same rate as her partner. It is extremely similar sonically as Julia and captures youthful frustration of growing older while combining it with a sunny beat. I am a huge fan of SZA over Pop Disco sounds.
The Weekend has become the internet’s favorite track from the album. It’s a great vibe that is 90’s influenced without being trite or overdone. It is a very interesting song that is her saying she doesn’t mind being a man’s weekend wifey but towards the end changes her tune to take what she deserves. She takes the notion of the hidden side chick and says it’s not about him really. It’s about both women comfortably getting what they desire instead of it being about his actions. Focus on it being her needs instead of his actions.
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