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SZA's long awaited album leaves fans in awe


     2022 was a host for some great albums by great artists including Nas, Kendrick Lamar, Ari Lennox, Smino, Drake and more. Many artists who have not released music in years came back this year with great albums as well. One of those artists was R&B singer Solána Imani Rowe, also known as SZA, who released her sophomore album “S.O.S.” on Dec. 9, 2022.

     This album came out five years after her debut album, “Ctrl”. In those five years, SZA released many singles such as “Shirt”,  “Good Days” and “I Hate U” all of which were featured in “S.O.S.”. The cover of the album is a picture of her sitting on a diving board in the middle of the ocean. It was inspired by a photo taken of the late Princess Diana in 1997 of her


Photo via NME

doing the same thing, which I found really interesting. The album includes 23 tracks and has a runtime of 67 minutes. It features big names like Travis Scott, Don Toliver, ODB and more. Normally, I don’t give albums with more than twenty songs a listen, but this album was worth it.

     The album follows themes of heartbreak, jealousy and getting over an ex, with songs like “Kill Bill”, “F2F” and “Nobody Gets Me”. I also love how SZA stays consistent with the theme of the album by having the letters “SOS” played in morse code in the background of many tracks along with ocean sounds, reflective of the theme of SZA’s love troubles and the album cover.

     SZA did well at inflicting emotion in her songs and making the tone visible. Songs like “Nobody Gets Me” and “Open Arms” almost brought tears to my eyes, while songs like “Smoking on my Ex Pack” and “I Hate U” had me screaming “Talk your talk SZA!”. She would also make this change in tone seamless, which kept the album from becoming a mess. I’ve never gone from sad, to crying, to confident while listening to an album before, and I love how she made that happen. 

      SZA also did a great job by referencing other songs and movies in her music. For example, the song “Kill Bill” follows the exact story of the 2003 Quinten Tarantino film “Kill Bill”, an angry person killing their ex and their new lover. The song “Smoking on my Ex Pack” also gets its title and some lyrics from the lyric “smoking on your top five tonight”, which came from Kendrick Lamar’s verse on “Family Ties” with Baby Keem. I love how SZA is paying homage to Kendrick since they both have many great tracks together like “Doves in the Wind” and “All the Stars”. They were also a part of the same record label, “Top Dawg Entertainment”, which Kendrick has since left.

     Overall, SZA went 23 for 23 on this album. Albums with numerous tracks are normally never consistent, but this album was good from start to finish. She stayed consistent with the theme of heartbreak and getting over it. She didn’t stick with the same emotion throughout the album, and when she’d change it up it would be smooth. I haven’t been able to find any lows in this album. I love how she tried different sounds other than R&B. Songs like “F2F” remind me of 2000s Avril Lavigne and she also rapped on some songs as well. This album is one of the best we’ve gotten in 2022, and definitely deserves “album of the year”. 

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