For our very first album review, Leana and I decided to review SZA’s album CTRL which was published in 2017. We listened to the story of SZAs relationship inconsistencies throughout the 14 tracks. In this album the main theme is control in various ways with her somewhat toxic love life: hence the album’s name. Furthermore, we embody SZA’s perspective in each note of this non-skip album. Therefore, Michaela and I have decided to choose our 3 top favorite tracks on this album and go in depth.


  1. Supermodel


To start off this album, we experience a slow beginning. SZA starts to engage us by sharing her story of heartbreak and telling us—the listeners—about her genuine feelings towards this man. Her words such as “leave me lonely for prettier women,” speaks to the idea that this relationship is not stable. She emphasizes how she can’t be comfortable just with herself. As we dive more into the music, we see SZA’s indecisiveness regarding this “relationship” by sharing the words, “but I need you” a number of 3 times in a row. This shows how important these words are to be recognized in this track. She continues to go back and forth over whether she should have “ctrl” over herself or continue to rely on this man for support. To continue, the instrumental on this track is supreme from the vocals with its suspended symbol, and at the very end the strong snare. 


  1. Normal Girl


The next track we analyzed is the 11th track of the album. We can describe this song as having a more poppy beat than our other tracks. To begin, we can understand that SZA and this man have a subtle relationship and embark on how there’s no fighting and he loves the things she does to impress him. She makes it clear that she “wants him to stick around” but also wishes she was “a normal girl” because she feels like she’s not enough for him and like other girls. When SZA emphasizes this she doesn’t just want to be a normal girl for him but also for his mama, friends, and her father. It’s almost like her main objective in this relationship is to constantly impress others and want to change herself in order to do so whether it’s personality or looks. Of course SZA sees his affection and shows her love back but she still has something in her head telling her that she’s not good enough to make others like her father and his mother proud . This track isn’t over yet, because towards the end we get a beautiful guitar solo that pulls through an amazing R&B sound to wrap up the song.


  1. Broken Clocks


As SZA pulls us through our next favorite track, right off the bat we start with a way more positive tone from the last tracks. SZA makes it known that she’s a hustler in this track, lines like “run fast from my day job” and “jump quick to a paycheck” makes us believe so. We can understand that in this track SZA is done with all the drama and just simply doesn’t have time for it. We believe this is what SZA means by “broken clocks”. Furthermore, in the song, SZA shows us how she has a more humble vibe and works hard, takes it day-by-day, and doesn’t listen to what other people have to say about her lifestyle. But, let’s not forget about SZA’s everlasting love, because she still finds a way to bring loving someone in every track! For a track that starts off with SZA not caring about the hate and focusing on her hustle, I’m not sure I should be surprised that SZA just can’t get over this guy. It’s no perfect love though, just like in almost every song in this album, she knows he loves her and she feels love for him too but is more focused on her career and more importantly herself. You would think she might need it after all of this relationship drama anyways. It’s not like SZA is head over heels for this guy anymore, she states how they have both moved on and how it’s been about three years since they have talked but he just can’t seem to get over her. To focus more on the instrumental aspect, SZA adds in a powerful 808 beat to give the song a strong bass ending.



Woah. This overall album left Michaela and I at a loss for words. SZA produced such a story throughout each track pulling on your heart strings more and more throughout the pieces. We would like to state some honorable mentions in this album including “Drew Barrymore” (Leana’s favorite song at the moment) and  “20 Something” (splendid example of how to end an album). I would suggest this album to new SZA listeners for it is one of SZA’s best works (In our opinions). Overall, I would rate this album a 9.7. Reasons it is not a 10 would have to be the strong language use and the song “Doves In The Wind” feat. Kendrick Lamar. I love Kendrick but this song was a skip in my opinion because I thought there was no significance in this track. In conclusion, listening to this album fully on vinyl was a rollercoaster and we suggest everyone listens to CTRL fully to jump on this rollercoaster with us!