SZA Tries to Find Closure with “Ctrl”

SZA’s new album “Ctrl” is an uplifting breakup anthem that provides an island of support for those who are heartbroken.

Solana Imani, also known as SZA, is an “alternative” hip-hop artist from New Jersey. Imani drew inspiration from Avant Garde Jazz and the hip-hop group Wu Tang Clan.

She began her musical career with a couple of singles and collaborations with several other alternative hip-hop artists not usually featured on the radio, like SchoolBoy Q and Kendrick Lamar.

Previously she had done a track with Rihanna in her “Anti” album, but had never released a recognized album.

SZA unleashed her debut record “Ctrl” to the world June 9th. It features 14 tracks.

“Ctrl” is a vivid interpretation of a breakup that almost sounds as though it were taken from a page in Imani’s diary. It is relatable, and she takes the listener on an adventure that  reminisces on a past relationship, or one that is failing.

She goes through the several phases of a breakup, the first being anger.

The album starts with a straightforward letter in the track “Supermodel.” In the song, Imani realizes her love for someone is false after her lover cheats on her.

Later in the album the lines become blurred as she realizes that the breakup is a lot more complex. She introduces a wide range of emotions from worthlessness to acceptance.

“Weekend” and “Love Galore” introduce the phase of sadness, and illustrate the attempts she makes to reconcile with someone who has shown her they don’t want to be with her.

She takes her listeners on a rollercoaster while she contemplates wanting to make the relationship work, whether or not it’s healthy for her, by saying she doesn’t mind being his side chick on the weekend.

She also touches on the awkwardness of seeing her ex with someone else after a breakup. In her song “Drew Barrymore” she compares herself to the other woman:

“I’m sorry I’m not more attractive

I’m sorry I’m not more ladylike

I’m sorry I don’t shave my legs at night

I’m sorry I’m not your baby mama

I’m sorry you got karma comin’ to you”

Though most people would be embarrassed to admit it, when we see an ex’s new significant other, we compare ourselves to them and begin self loathing.

The album as a whole was not intended to be cookie-cutter style. SZA showed she wanted to bare herself and be real with fans.

The album is filled with colorful tones, and has a unique sound that is very modern. The general theme was extremely contemporary by discussing sexual relationships openly. She addresses the need for men to obsess over a woman’s genitalia, doing anything to get their way.

To me, “Ctrl” was meant to show listeners that breakups are not cut and dried the way most mainstream artists portray them.

This album shows the messy details that make people human.

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