Unpopular opinion time.
At first listen, I wasn't vibing as hard to SZA's debut studio album, Ctrl, as much as my black millennial counterparts. I found it vapid, lost, OTT at points, underwritten in others. There was an overarching theme of being lost. Or perhaps, the 14-track LP played in its 49-minute span like a downward, and then upward self-deprecating spiral.
Leave me lonely for prettier women
You know I need too much attention
I don't see myself
Why I can't stay alone just by myself
I had been entranced by SZA's magic long before the infectious empowering hook, "I gotta do things my own way, darling."
I was drawn to her back in "Babylon" and found true love when I came across her "Teen Spirit." There was something undeniable about the way she put together words, looped metaphors, and did it in a voice that dripped with euphoric highs.
Her debut EP Z was perfect from beginning to end, but while there was undeniable magic in Z, I'm learning that that was very much SZA, the edit.
It wasn't the real her.
It wasn't as transparent.
It didn't say things so plainly, so brash, so flawed.
It was a filter.
Perhaps that's why Z brought me comfort, whereas Ctrl terrified me.
After my first listen, I was happy to remove it from Apple Music. Shortly afterward, I had a conversation with someone who challenged my thoughts and so I decided to give it two more listens.
I get so lonely, I forget what I'm worth
We get so lonely, we pretend that this works
I'm so ashamed of myself think I need therapy
There, I vibed.
I felt it in a different way those times.
I understood her.
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