We start off with words of advice from her mother about not losing control of her life. A issue that seems to resonate well with most 20-something year old women of today. Learning how to take the vast situations life throws at you and being able to apply it to yourself without losing control at the same time.
“CTRL” skips the friendly introduction most debut albums give and dives right into a diary SZA has left unlocked under her pillow. The reason for this quick openness may be because she’s introduced herself to the underground music scene collecting a devout following since 2010 with her siren spun singles on SoundCloud and her self-released mix tapes “See.SZA.Run” (2012) and “S”(2013), and then again on album-length EP “Z”, which announced her as Top Dawg Entertainment’s first female artists. Sharing the spotlight with fellow label mates Isaiah Rashad, Schoolboy Q and label creator Kendrick Lamar. She also featured and intertwined on Rihanna’s “Anti” Album on the “Consideration” track.
It only takes just under 50 minutes for SZA to breathlessly leap between genres, and sweetly croon about tired and broken relationships in a stream-of-consciousness style.
Album opener “Supermodel” is a real-life break-up letter translated into song. “Let me tell you a secret,” she begins, “I been secretly banging your homeboy. Why you in Vegas all up on Valentine’s Day? Why am I so easy to forget like that?” None of this is fiction. In an interview with Power 105.1 FM’s, “The Breakfast Club” SZA revealed she got a call from one of her boyfriend’s friends, who basically told her that he boyfriend at the time had an orgy in Vegas. To which she instantly got her revenge, by sleeping with his homeboy and then she wrote about it.
SZA isn’t afraid to essentially expose her self in some sensitive situations. She’s so at ease with exploring her own strengths and perceived shortcomings. ‘Normal Girl’ is all about how good she is in the bedroom, but she in the same verse admits she wants to be “the type of girl you take home to mama.” ‘Broken Clocks’ is a time-stopping story of her time working in a strip club, as a bartender/bottle girl, “Never going back/Never going back/ No you can’t make me”, and the sudden epiphany she had when realizing she wanted to make music
T’Prom’ is an out-and-out pop triumph, built from Bubblegum drums and teen-angst. It’s surrounded by the sultry R&B stylings of ‘Drew Barrymore’ and ‘The Weekend’’s glossy introspection, with the catch tongue-twisting line “My Man is My Man is Your Man, Her, that’s her man too.”
“Ctrl” has this strength on how it doesn’t strive to be one thing over the other. It effortlessly escapes between narratives and genres with a complexity that is just as experimental as a young woman is . It’s safe to say that SZA isn’t a star in the making, she’s just a rising talent showing off.