SZA’s latest album, CTRL, perfectly describes the inner workings of every millennial woman in only 49 minutes.

I’m breaking my own rule here by commenting in any way on an album that hasn’t been out a full week, but I have to talk about this or I will burst:

Do any of you other millennial women feel like SZA has been reading your mail or watching you in your own version of The Truman Show?

All of the angsty, gut-wrenching, awkward things I would never say out loud are posed perfectly in one song or another on CTRL. I wonder if, when choosing songs for the album, she intended to connect with listeners on such a personal level. I have seen it said that CTRL is a sort of instruction booklet for millennial women of color on how to navigate the life they’ve been given by society. On the contrary, CTRL is a commentary on the state of humanity as a woman of color, and SZA is saying she is just a confused as we are: “Can we wing it together?” My body would physically reject saying some of the lyrics in her songs, even though my body screams “YES!” every time I listen to SZA sing them. Her statements are personal, and I am left to wonder how SZA, at 26 years of age, has lived this many lives.

SZA is among the new school of women who are saying whatever tf they want in songs. No longer are we shocked when we hear women talk about their sexual needs. No longer are we disgusted by hearing women sing or rap about playing men the ways in which men have historically bragged about playing women. Women like Kehlani, Rihanna…hell, even Selena Gomez are telling it like it is. The beauty in all of these women’s artistry is not that they have voices of angels –  they’re kind of average singers, to be honest. The beauty of these artists is that their words speak for a resounding multitude of women: those who possess the ideal of a woman who just wants to be loved and be the girl Mr. Right wants, but for some, in the meantime, they want to have fun for a weekend and give Mr. Right Now back to his rightful owner for the rest of the week; the women who, by whatever turn of events, have found themselves in the position of the other woman, knowing they are good women and knowing they need their asses beat for what they’re doing; the women who were legitimately trying to wait until marriage to have sex but hormones; the ones who men would write glowing letters of recommendation about their cookie caliber; the women who think they’ll never get it together; the women who think they have it all together; the women who are convinced no one else thinks what they’re thinking or feels how they feel.

SZA puts vulnerability to work in CTRL. She has already taken control of what can only be understood as a speech impediment to make her style of singing more interesting; she took control of her own vulnerability, and now she seems to be taking control of the reigns of First Lady of Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE).

SZA, taking "CTRL" of the reigns of First Lady of Top Dawg Ent. (TDE)

SZA, taking “CTRL” of the reigns of First Lady of Top Dawg Ent. (TDE)

Every song on the album is cohesively lyrically poignant, succinctly making her point in striking statements, as if she came up with 14 central phrases based off of the female POC experience and built songs around each. As a tribute to her lyrical prowess and a Cliff’s Notes to which song will appeal the most to you, here are the most striking, most relatable lyrics in each song on CTRL that will convince you SZA is the spokesperson for every millennial female of color:

  1. “Supermodel” – “Wish I was comfortable just by myself but I need you.”
  2. “Love Galore” – Why you bother me when you know you don’t want me? Why you bother me when you know you got a woman? Why you hit me when you know you know better?”
  3. “Doves in the Wind” – “You could never trivialize pussy/But a bum nigga like you would try it (pussy)”
  4. “Drew Barrymore” – “I get so lonely, I forget what I’m worth”
  5. “Prom” – “Am I doin’ enough?/Feel like I’m wastin’ time”
  6. “The Weekend” – “You’re like 9 to 5, I’m the weekend”
  7. “Go Gina” – “I belong to nobody/Hope it don’t bother you/You can mind your business/I belong to nobody/Try not to disturb/And mind my business”
  8. “Garden (Say It Like Dat)” – “I know you’d rather be layin’ up with a big booty”…”You know I’m sensitive about havin’ no booty, havin’ no body, only you buddy”
  9. “Broken Clocks” – “Been about three years since I dated you/Why you still talking ’bout me like we together?”
  10. “Anything” – “Do do you even know I’m alive?”
  11. “Wavy (Interlude)” – “I think I’m bad as hell”
  12. “Normal Girl” – “I really wish a was a normal girl, oh my/How do I be, how do I be a lady?”
  13. “Pretty Little Birds” – “I wanna shave my legs for you”
  14. “20 Something” – “Hopin’ my 20 somethings won’t end/Hopin’ to keep the rest of my friends/Prayin’ the 20 somethings don’t kill me, don’t kill me…”

This isn’t one of those albums you stream. This is an album you buy because you cannot rely on Internet connection when you need to listen to it. CTRL is an anthem – yes, the whole album – that was well worth the wait. Hopefully, other critics will understand how important the album is and it will take its proper place among the ranks of relational songs that just so happen to jam.

3 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.