SZA soothes our souls with new album


Talia Bumanglag ’24

SZA posters appeared across the country prior to the debut of her much-anticipated album SOS.

Talia Bumanglag ’24, Arts & Entertainment Editor

After a five year drought, SZA released her highly anticipated sophomore album ‘SOS’ on Dec. 9, 2022 and since then it has rained success. ‘SOS’ has continued to climb the charts, break records, and earned SZA many of her first #1’s. 

Solána Imani Rowe, better known as SZA, is an R&B singer-songwriter raised in Maplewood, New Jersey. The singer has three EP’s and has collaborated with some of the biggest names in music, but the credit to her success is from her debut album ‘Ctrl.’ 

Gabriel Llaguna ’24 commented on his love for the artist saying, “I started listening to her in 2017. My cousin introduced me to her and I loved her music so I kept listening to her ever since.” 

Late 2022 stirred lots of excitement for fans, as she had not released any full projects within the five years between albums and was teasing fans with the upcoming release. But once the album was announced, it opened the floodgates for fans and gave them a taste of heaven. 

Drea Escamilla ’24 expressed her eagerness for her upcoming album,“As soon as one of her singles dropped I was getting really impatient, but before that there were a lot of other artists I listened to that continued releasing music between her break.”

This 23-track album debuted at #1 on the billboard 200, and has become the first album in history to chart 10 songs simultaneously on Billboard’s Hot 100 for seven weeks. It’s sold over one million units in the U.S, gave SZA her first #1 with ‘Kill Bill,’ and became certified gold within days of its initial release. 

Among the multiple records it has broken, ‘SOS’ became the first R&B album by a female artist to spend its first four weeks on the Billboard 200 at #1 this century, since the legendary Janet Jackson’s ‘Janet’. 

“I thought the album was really long, but I loved it and was excited because I really love ‘Shirt’,” Escamilla continued. 

The five-year marination of this album was definitely worth the wait. The general sound of the album is almost completely different from ‘Ctrl,’ and is filled with melodic rap, hip-hop ballads, and grunge bangers. 

The opening track ‘SOS’ immediately draws your attention with a quick-paced rap that is unlike anything else SZA has released. ‘Kill Bill’ has everyone around the world hooked, with its psychedelic melody that is almost addictive as she describes wanting to murder her ex, and pays tribute to the classic film it’s named after. 

This sound continues before the album slows with ‘Love Language’ and ‘Blind’. Following, we get a shocking collaboration featuring Phoebe Bridgers on ‘Ghost in the Machine’ and a pop-punk banger ‘F2F’. The album continues with its R&B sound, and ultimately ends with another fast paced rap in ‘Forgiveless.’

Llaguna described the feelings he felt while listening to the album expressing, “I felt like I ascended into heaven and reached tranquility.” 

SZA perfectly encapsulated the highs and lows of heartbreak, singing about mobbing, scheming, and looting, to preaching about the blessings and manifestations she prays will enter her life. Its broad sound made it the perfect album for all to enjoy. 

Her unique formula in creating ‘SOS’ is vastly different, yet there are still many aspects that feel familiar and like a SZA album. Though ‘Ctrl’ was hard to top, this album completely changed the competition and has become another lyrically impactful and memorable album for the world to have.