put your records on: SZA

I’ve been waiting for this album since Z came out in 2014 and it does not dissapoint. Solana Rowe’s voice is honey sweet, but delivers biting lines such as “You could never trivialize pussy/ But a bum nigga like you would try it”. She continues to push the boundaries of R&B, with hints of indie rock on tracks like “Supermodel” and trap in “Garden (Say It Like Dat)”. The album as a whole explores freedom of sexuality in a modern world, along with insecurity, and the desire for closeness. To quote Pitchfork “CTRL is about sexual freedom while still having your hunger for intimacy be taken seriously.”

One of my favorite tracks is “Drew Barrymore”, atrack in which SZA portrays a more unassured and self conscious version of herself. The song speaks to the feeling of insecurity within a relationship with the chorus constantly questioning whether it is warm enough both inside her and outside. This double meaning; inside as sexual innuedo and outside refering to physical beauty, is complicated further by the fact that the line warm enough sounds similar to woman enough. SZA questions her feminity in relation to her sexual appeal, and shows the difficulties that are posed to women in our current cultural landscape. However the song is sort of an unapologetical apology for parts of her that may not be the epitome of how many think a lady should act.

Warm enough for ya outside baby, yeah
(Tell me that it’s warm enough here for ya)
Is it warm enough for ya inside me, me, me, me?
Warm enough for ya outside baby, yeah
(Tell me that it’s warm enough here for ya)
Warm enough outside, inside me, me, me, me

These sides of both the postives and negatives of modern love are present in the whole album. SZA wishes that she was a “normal girl” who is taken to meet the family, but also sleeps with her ex-boyfriend’s friend because he purposefully left her on Valentine’s Day.

Listen to CTRL here

 

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