CTRL
SZA - CTRL
Critic Score
Based on 14 reviews
2017 Rank: #27 / 628
User Score
Based on 353 ratings
June 9, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
Top Dawg, RCA / Label
Alternative R&B / Genres
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CRITIC REVIEWS

91
A.V. Club

Ctrl is as tough as Damn is tender, and it knocks as hard as The Sun’s Tirade swoons. It’s weirder than any of them, and maybe funnier, too.

90
Exclaim!
SZA's knack for marrying her assorted tastes into an intriguing sound is her strong suit, and coupled with her distinct vocal and songwriting abilities, she comes across here as a consummate artist.
88
GIGsoup
SZA altered her direction in front of a world waiting on her words by discarding the guarded metaphors to evoke and examine darker realities, and ‘CTRL’ is all the better for it. It is a product that sets a new standard, raising the bar for herself and for other artists young and old.
84
Pitchfork
The long-awaited debut from the Jersey singer is an opulent, raw R&B album that constantly tests the borders of the genre. SZA’s deeply personal lens on modern romance gives these songs endless life.
83
Pretty Much Amazing

Rowe admits she’s no idea what she’s doing when it comes to being an artist, but CTRL doesn’t suggest this at all. Rather it shows someone with a novel prose and delivery who uses these tools to explore music in ways those before her were unable to do.

83
Consequence of Sound

With Ctrl, SZA proves that the cult following that ballooned with the release of her 2014 mixtape, Z, was not some flash in the pan, but a deserved wellspring of attention from an adoring fan base whose faith in what she had yet to produce helped to produce the project that could eventually stand as the best thing she has ever done.

80
Crack Magazine

On Ctrl, SZA’s debut retail album, she explores the full range of her voice over laidback hip-hop production that includes the textural variety of live instrumentation.

80
NME
Across 45 minutes, she breathlessly leaps between genres, and laments on tired and broken relationships in a stream-of-consciousness style that fans of Frank Ocean’s ‘Blonde’ will adore.
80
Clash
Featuring savage and often heartfelt, diary-like ruminations, ‘CTRL’ pushes against the borders of convention lyrically and sonically, placing it on the upper echelons of potential ‘Best Of ’17’ lists.
80
AllMusic
This is a marked improvement and an indication of more great work to come.
80
No Ripcord

Ctrl is a languid, cavernously soulful debut that is never anything but assured – a collection of delicious jams that are equal parts fragile, cozy and piercing.

80
PopMatters

Making these subtle tonal shifts so impactful is a truly rare feat for a debut record and proves that SZA already has a place among our most heart-wrenching writers and vocalists.

78
Paste

As a twenty-something woman who’s been single in the age of social media, SZA’s confessional debut album CTRL is strikingly relatable. But what’s remarkable about it is that she has spun her personal experiences into a soulful, touching R&B record with broad appeal beyond her particular demographic.

70
The Needle Drop

SZA delivers a strong full-length debut that explores the emotional complexities of being the other woman.

Jun 10, 2017*
BruhMan
90
FAVORITE TRACKS: Supermodel, Love Galore, Doves In The Wind, Drew Barrymore, Garden (Say It Like Dat), Wavy, Broken Clocks, Pretty Little Birds & Prom
Jun 11, 2017
McKnightyxx
80
Don't listen to exception. This album is very good. Exception is too pretentious to enjoy anything thats not obscure or underground.
Jun 12, 2017
93
tl;dr—this feels for me much less basic than other's here are suggesting. i enjoy the shit out of this.

there are moments on this that remind me of Blond. Maybe not as lyrically dense as Frank's work, but still honest—about fucking a guy's bro on valentine's day for cheating on her, being self-conscious about not having a bangin' body...the album feels smooth all the way through and of a slightly higher quality than the other alt r&b stuff out now. some pop anthems in ... read more
Jun 11, 2017
exception
27
SZA, Kehlani, Tinashe, and all of these flavor-of-the-month R&B singers are the same. No substance, shallow lyrics, and hopping onto whatever wave is popular in music at the time, which in this case is the soul/hip hop fusion similar to what Bryson Tiller popularized. SZA is lucky because she is signed to TDE, which also holds some very talented artists such as two of the features on this album. So, she actually has the resources available to do some different shit which can prove to be ... read more
Jun 9, 2017
89
Flawless production along with the angelic voice of SZA makes this one of the strongest R&B releases of the year.
END OF YEAR LISTS
#27/Q Magazine
#53/Uncut
Track List
  1. Supermodel
  2. Love Galore (feat. Travis Scott)
  3. Doves In the Wind (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
  4. Drew Barrymore
  5. Prom
  6. The Weekend
  7. Go Gina
  8. Garden (Say It Like Dat)
  9. Broken Clocks
  10. Anything
  11. Wavy (Interlude) [feat. James Fauntleroy]
  12. Normal Girl
  13. Pretty Little Birds (feat. Isaiah Rashad)
  14. 20 Something


Added on: January 24, 2017