We all have control but do we have what it takes to be open with our emotions. SZA gave the world the gateway to her heart with Ctrl. From not feeling loved by past lovers to the growing pains of your twenty’s, we have all experienced times where we feel as is life is moving on without us in the driver seat. It is “scary and also comforting” as SZA mom states at the end of Doves In The Wind.
Lets dive in….
The album starts off with the melodic Supermodel. It’s an open letter penned to a past fling on how the sex made SZA feel that she needed him. With wanting attention from she goes to great lengths to make him notice her like begging his homeboy for sex. SZA wasn’t comfortable enough with herself at the time. So much so she felt that she needed to be there for someone who wasn’t there for her even though it was temporary love.
We then transition to Travis Scott assisted Love Galore. SZA leaves the reminiscing of Supermodel to declare that she is done with guys that don’t really care for her. In the video she ties up Travis and slaps him. This slap is SZA taking back the control of her emotions. You will not try to screw over SZA. This track is about an independent woman letting the world know that she is done with the fake love.
Up next is the smooth Doves in the Wind. We get a slowed down Kendrick Lamar verse where he tells us the many effects of pussy. It’s rules the world and makes people go to great lengths to obtain. SZA is selective of who gets hers and she’s not afraid to tell you that you do not deserve it. SZA will make you beg for it but it doesn’t mean you will get it.
We now get to apologetic and sincere Drew Barrymore. In this track, SZA questions if she’s good enough for someone. She says she is sorry for not being pretty enough, for being clingy, for not shaving her legs daily, for not being ladylike, and for wanting his attention. This track is where the box of emotions is opened. We have all felt that we aren’t pretty enough for someone. We have felt these insecurities because we often do not realize that we are all beautiful on our own right. We do not realize out worth because we want to please other people.
Prom, the season of wanting to look the best and knowing that soon you will take the next step. Here SZA promises that she will be better in the future. This is the song where we lace-up our boots and take the step into adulthood.
Late night feelings of wanting more and needing more are brought to light on The Weekend. SZA is ready to give her all to a shared lover all weekend. She doesn’t mind that she is with a community guy as long as she has him on the weekends. SZA is open to sharing a guy knowing that she will make him losing his mind over her on the weekends.
In the Martin Lawrence influenced Go Gina, SZA lets you know who she is. She’s the same low-key hardworking stoner that likes to hang with her inner circle. Her inner circle might leak things about her but she’ll never change. We’re all cheering for SZA to never change.
Have you ever been so in love you don’t want to see that your lover isn’t who you think they are? In Garden (Say It Like That) SZA lets us know we’re not alone. We’ve been in love with someone who accepts our insecurities. We want someone to be there to hold our head up when we don’t believe in ourselves. Some people have a way with words that make is believe that they truly here for us when they aren’t. Love makes us see the angelic side to some demons. We get a skit from SZA grandma at the end where she says of you don’t really like me why mess with me. This connects back to Love Galore where SZA declares that’s she’s done with bothering with people who don’t really want her.
In Broken Clocks, we get the feeling that it’s hard to balance life. SZA has no time to waste because she has already wasted time on guys that didn’t deserve her. Her love life and her music have taken full control of her life. Time doesn’t effect SZA in a sense because her schedule is the same but at the same time she doesn’t have time to waste on people or things that won’t better her.
Have you ever just gone with the flow? In Anything, SZA decides to take a laid back approach to life. She is down for the ride and is willing to go anywhere. SZA stops to question the person do you even know I’m alive. Sometimes life moves on without our control and we have to wake up and take back that control to know that we are really living.
James Fauntleroy and SZA team up for the Wavy (Interlude). In this duet they go back and forth about how they have found their way out of trouble. SZA ends this ballad asking for help to know how to do things while she takes it slow.
Growing up we are sometimes put into a box of what we should be like. In Normal Girl SZA discusses the many qualities that she felt she needed to have in her past relationships. She wanted to be the girl who you could take home to your mom but she was also a hothead. She wanted to a normal girl that her father could approve of. She wanted to be more like a lady. SZA wanted to be a normal girl before but now she’s at the top of world being herself so wanting to be normal is a thing of the past.
SZA and label mate Isiah Rashad team up for the liberating Pretty Little Birds. SZA has become a Phoenix that has risen from heartbreak and undesirable expectations to become a pretty little girl. She is ready to give her all to someone. She doesn’t open up like she used to but she still wants to be with someone until they reach heaven. Isiah offers guidance SZA by telling her to look for the light she doesn’t always see.
The closing track of 20 Something is a complete breakdown of a phase everyone in life will go through. A period where we want everything in life to be together. It’s a hard time because we have this expectation of what it’s going to be like but it won’t be anything like our expectations. We get older and we face things that we wish we could run from. Love and fear is something we wish we could control but we through this phase it controls us. SZA prays that’s we all make it through this phase. SZA is currently in this phase and she doesn’t want it to end. We close this album with wise words from SZA mom. She’d rather hold on to an illusion of something happy rather than face the truth of something that is dark.
This much-appreciated debut album by SZA was a refection of her personal diary. Her willingness to take off her mask and be personal with her demons to us all made this album worthwhile. SZA is no different than any of us. She struggles with desires and control of her life/emotions. SZA displayed honesty about her life throughout this album. Whether she was trying to mask her insecurities or wanting more attention from a past lover we are all SZA. We are all in need of love. We all want to be able to control our life. But the painful truth is emotions and love will not always satisfy us and that everything we go through in life is a learning experience. Thank You SZA for being the mirror I look in and realize that I am not the only one going through the pains of this lifetime.