SZA - Ctrl
Jan 22, 2021
81
ROLLING STONE #472

SZA!!!

I was honestly pretty surprised to see this one on here. I'm not complaining but it is interesting that this made it. SZA's 2017 debut was pretty critically acclaimed upon its release and is on its way to becoming a classic in the R&B genre. SZA's sweet but assertive vocals work really well over the smooth guitar and synth-based rnb instrumentals with aspects of pop, neo-soul, and alternative rock as well. I really love all the vocal runs she does throughout the record. The production is very comforting and really sets the vibe very well, but I can't help but notice that it does get pretty same-y as we go on. And another small gripe I have is regarding the song structures- on some of these songs it just sounds like one long verse as the choruses and hooks don't really stand out as much as I would have liked them to.

This really doesn't take away from my enjoyment too much, though, and I think a main aspect of this record that makes it so good is SZA's lyricism. The intimate and honest lyrics about the complications of her relationships is just super out there and transparent and I really respect that. Everything from cheating, to getting cheated on, and her insecurities- it's all out there. And she also reflects on her self through all this, preaches about empowerment, and includes brief vocal snippets of her grandmother's advice. So I can imagine for the listeners who have been through what SZA has been through, this would hit hard.

Overall, this is for sure a very cohesive and enjoyable listen all the way through and something that I do come back to pretty often. But I want more- I really hope SZA drops this year!!! Her new single "Good Days" is a hell of a song and has been on repeat so I can't wait for what 's to come!
6 Comments
Jan 22, 2021
you're doing all 500? thats based
Jan 22, 2021
yup! appreciate it :)
Jan 23, 2021
Love this review!! :)
Jan 23, 2021
ty!!
Jan 24, 2021
This was one of the first big surprises on the 500 for me. I'm not complaining as I do enjoy a lot of moments from Ctrl, but I wouldn't have expected Rolling Stone to give it that kind of accolade. Keep on going, I'm still impressed to see you working through the list!
Jan 24, 2021
haha yeah- slowly working through it!
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