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SZA’s Album Is Out of CTRL

Artist Speaks to Teenagers with New Album

Photo Courtesy of: Martine McLaughlin

Photo Courtesy of: Martine McLaughlin

Annick Renaudin, Contributing Writer

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Solana Imani Rowe—more commonly known as “SZA”—has blessed the world with an unbelievable album. The album, CTRL, was released on June 9th, 2017. Many approved of it, generally saying that SZA’s embracement of her sexuality—wrapped up in such a sensual album—is important. During an interview with Billboard, SZA shared that wanting, having, or lacking control is what inspired her  to title the album “CTRL.” Her style of music is profound and vibrant for young generations. SZA uses a combination of R&B, Neo-Soul, and rhythm and blues to captivate her listeners.

CTRL is also very relatable. Young women can relate to SZA’s lyrics through her emphasis on physical beauty, love, and relationship abuse. At the same time, SZA sheds light on being strong and confident no matter how difficult a situation may be. She communicates this clear and universal message to her audience. CTRL is a diamond that shines during tough times.

CTRL highlights subjects that young people need to hear about.”

Today, it is hard to find an album with meaningful words that most teenagers can relate to while also having a nice beat. Well, this was the case, until SZA. Starting off her album with a mellow R&B vibe, the album’s first—and Grammy-nominated—song, “Supermodel” has harsh and straightforward initial lines.

For example, the song starts with: “I’m writing this letter to let you know/ I’m really leaving/ And no I’m not keeping your shit/ Heard you got some new homies.” At some point during the album, SZA then switches focus to her insecurities and how different she realized that she was from everyone else.

SZA’s  ability to show the public and the music industry how vulnerable she was—or perhaps still is—allows her to have a deeper connection with her fan base. “Garden (Say It Like Dat),” the eighth track on her album, emphasizes an important taboo subject that some girls have during their teenage life. “You know I’m sensitive about havin’ no booty /havin’ nobody” sheds light on a topic that teenagers can relate to. According to our current society, a girl is beautiful because of her specific features and curves.

Having curves is beautiful—but, many skinny or plus size girls worry about not being worth enough because of the absence of those curves or shapes. SZA wants to let her listener know that she understands how they feel about having “nobody” and “no booty,” and that it is OK—that all girls are beautiful in their own way. At the same time, SZA is asking a man to love her, with or without those curves. She is asking for attention—and, most importantly, pure and sincere love.  

The best part about SZA’s album is how simple it is to understand and how relatable it can be to younger people. The smooth and jazzy transition sounds of the album are what make her stand out from any artist out there. CTRL is a relatable album that everyone should listen to—it highlights subjects that young people need to hear about. Most importantly, CTRL tells them  they should know it is OK to have control, want control, and—sometimes—lack control, too.

This piece also appears in our February print edition.

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SZA’s Album Is Out of CTRL