By Samantha Foster
2017 ended as most years do with great highs and terrible lows, but one can't deny 2017 was a great year for the music industry. One specific example of this would be the debut album named Ctrl (pronounced as “control”) by the promising American singer/songwriter SZA (pronounced as “sizza”). Ctrl is a confessional album with fourteen tracks of personal experiences about desire, jealousy, and low self-esteem. Although considered to be an R&B and Neo Soul album, Ctrl challenges those boundaries by drawing influences from other genres like Trap and Indie Rock.
SZA’s up close and personal lyrics to her tracks are perhaps one of Ctrl’s greatest features as they connect the audience to the songwriter’s most intimate and internal struggles. In “Supermodel” SZA talks about her ex breaking up with her on Valentine’s Day and “Doves In The Wind” about balances sexual freedom with intimacy.
Ctrl’s most acclaimed song would be “Weekend”, which ranked 29 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and went on to be nominated for “Best R&B Performance” at the 2017 Grammy Awards. Although this song is one of the more successful tracks on the album, I prefer some of the others for being more catchy and upbeat but I give it credit for gaining attention with its lyrics, making some commenters call Weekend a “side chick anthem”. When listening to Ctrl I jump straight to the second track
“Love Galore”, which features rapper Travis Scott. This trap-influenced song has a catchy upbeat tune and I especially enjoy the sound effect of Scott’s voice at the beginning of the song made to mimic an old video game. “Pretty Little Birds” is also a personal favorite for its trance like rhythms and sensual tunes. “20 Something” strikes a chord with many. This deep and relatable song is one almost out of a journal as SZA sings about trying to get through her 20’s and the challenges that come along in those years from paying bills to searching for love.
Ctrl is an album that will definitely connect with you if you’ve ever been young and in love; it’s SZA’s greatest work so far and the beginning of what's yet to come.