Mahi and Sophie Recap Sza’s Drop: SOS
B Y MAHI KUMAR & SOPHIE CHUNG
If you don’t already know, the chatty gals are SZA stans.
15 APR - 2023
From songs about killing your ex, being a full-fledged lover girl, to absolutely disassociating from reality - SOS has it all.
This album, for me, came at a time where I was seriously doubting whether Sza would even release her own music again. If you haven’t yet, read my piece on why Sza fans are such a starved fandom to understand the true extent of frustration I felt. But then Sza did something unexpected and made the drop in December 2022, and I felt a feeling of excitement I hadn't had since CTRL came out.
In all honesty, on my first listen the album felt like it was linking up with 2021 me. The unhealed, fully disassociating, slightly in denial version of me. But that’s what the album is. An SOS. A call for help. A woman who is acknowledging that feelings aren’t linear, and progress and healing isn’t clear cut. You can bounce between feelings often and feel extreme rage (exemplified by songs like Kill Bill) but be in your absolute sad girl era (I mean Special is literally about how all her special has been given away). What this album shows me is you need to ride the fucking wave. You can feel extremely rageful in some instances, but appreciative in others; and that’s okay.
Whilst I well and truly do believe that I could give a dissertation on this album, I’m here to give you my top three songs that gave me a shiver down my spine on my first listen.
Now, whilst Soph and I share our immense love for Sza, we actually have different top two songs for the reasons divulged below. We could, however, agree on our third song that we absolutely love.
The song starts off with the lyrics “patience ain’t no virtue with you” and continues on to say “ruin my day saying shit to hurt me I can’t compete…” but concludes the verse with “still on the way, I lay awake if you not around me”. The chorus is Sza asking this man to explain his love language, so she can show him the way she is loved.
For me, what sets this song apart is the slow beat, but actually the fact that Sza has sampled HER OWN SONG in making this song. It’s a sample of Hit Different by Sza and Ty Dolla Sign, a song that didn’t make the album. The beat, the melody, the backing track, and the sample of Sza’a own voice in a deeper tone literally is orgasmic.
Grappling with the internal conflict Sza is feeling, is what makes this song sexy to me. You know the feeling of when you know it ain't right, but shit does it feel good. This song exemplifies exactly that. It’s the perfect song to do the deed to. Passionately, and in a way that feels almost reckless because it consumes you.
Let me tell you, 2022 for me, was the year of being all about me. I was in my low key villain era. Feeling like you’re about me, and I’m about me. But when snooze comes on? Holy shit does that feeling evaporate in a second. I want to be loved up and laid up with the man of my dreams, telling him that “I can’t lose… when I’m with you… How can I snooze and miss the moment? You’re just too important…”.
This song makes me want to throw out all of the self-righteousness I’ve fought to achieve out the window. It’s light, it’s upbeat, it’s fun and an easy sing-along song. I was in Mexico with my girls for a month and I have to say, every morning we would put Snooze on and sing along as we got ready. The chokehold it had on us was unprecedented.
It also felt easy to relate to. There’s still some emotional turmoil (as the outro has lyrics to the effect that there is some crying and lying going on) but for the most part, it’s a lover girl song and makes you want to just be in love.
Didn’t know I'd ever want to feel that way but I appreciate my girl Sza for bringing it out of me.
‘Kill Bill’ resonates with the very core of all scorned lovers.
It’s been a while since SZA’s SOS dropped. I wrote something some time ago but wasn’t completely sure if those opinions were something that I’d stand by later on. I’ve since mass deleted my thoughts.
When I first heard the album, it was super triggering, and like everyone else who’s under the SZA spell, I bawled my eyes out to it - especially ‘Nobody Gets Me’ and ‘Special’ - weirdly enough, it revealed some historic pitiful emotions and I was doubling down on the emotionally release. Now, I find them too sappy and don’t listen to these songs anymore.
Anyway, shortly after listening to SOS back to back for a few days, I was requesting SZA at LP bars, drunk-singing ‘Kill Bill’ ‘Blind’ and ‘Snooze’ with my mum - she loves SZA now.
When an album comes out from one of my fave artists, I’ll listen to it from start to finish back to back like it’s a cassette tape. But eventually, only the best gems get put on my regular playlist.
I’ve got to say, ‘Love Language’ is such a dreamy track with an Easter egg at the end which releases so much serotonin with its melodic strings. ‘Seek & Destroy’ is also a catchy tune that contains a lot of pressurised energy that’s on the verge of a fantastic explosion.
My personal favourite is ‘Kill Bill’ but SZA’s acoustic version. It’s a great sad shower song, and if you’re like Mahi and I, you can also belt it out over a double date dinner at home.
‘Kill Bill’ is the song that was placed #1 on the charts immediately after the album was released and the most played song from SOS so far. Clocking over 800 Million plays on Spotify, It’s also played on the radio the most and I think the reason it resonates with people so well is because of how the song so beautifully describes ugly, obsessive behaviour. Triggered by rejection from her unrequited love, the maniacal thought processes and emotions are perfectly encapsulated, and on top of that, wrapped in bows and sugar coated with her honey-like voice.
Just yesterday, Doja Cat and SZA released a collab for ‘Kill Bill’ and it’s just so good. Ever since ‘Kiss Me More,’ I knew there would be more duets to come as that was an absolute smasher of a banger, taking out a swift Grammy for it.
With Doja’s addition, ‘Kill Bill’ resonates with the very core of all scorned lovers. With a dope storytelling rap, it sets up the context of how she snapped so vividly. Since her fans wanted more depth from Doja’s lyrics, she promised in a tweet to serve up a dose of seriousness instead of the usual ‘mid’ and ‘corny’ tracks, and so, delivered. Her verse instantly reminds me of Eminem.
“I'm in a funk, so I bought a bouquet of roses
And cut 'em up at your doorstep, your new neighborhood is gorgeous
I paid a lot of money for the fragrances you wore when we were dating
And I sold some lemonade just to afford them.”
With the effort she went through and completely sacrificing her pride and opting for vulnerability, you already know it’s not going to end well. When you get rid of all traces of dignity and self-respect like this, there’s no telling how hard someone will pop off when they push off their rock bottom.
‘I couldn't help but watch you kiss her by the kitchen sink
I swung the door open, tippy-toed farther in
I wasn't cryin', I was starin' and forgot to blink
She saw me standin' by the TV and she wouldn't stop screamin'
So I tried to be discreet and told her, "Calm your tits"
She grabbed the kitchen knife, so I pulled out the blick
Ain't got it all the time, thank God I did for this
'Cause she was seein' red, and all I saw was you
It happened in a flash when she charged at me
Y'all criss-crossed, saw her fall to the floor
Then you paused there in horror, but that shot wasn't for her’
Mahi - Open Arms to me is such an underrated song on this album. It feels like you’re simultaneously in pain but also extremely ecstatic.
The common theme with a lot of the songs on this album that screams out to me is love that feels so good when it’s going good, but tears you apart when it isn’t. The version with Travis Scott on SOS tells me a story of two people who are so devoted to each other, sincerely want to be with each other but can’t. It makes me think of the one who got away, and the pain you feel when you’re forced to let somebody who means a lot to you go. It’s a song you want to belt to.
Soph - When I listen to ‘Open Arms,’ it’s the story of being once lost and found and then having to let go of someone you love.
It conveys the sweet relief of finding security after helplessly flailing around in the dark abyss for what feels like an eternity. This kind of dependency is what we would generally call a toxic relationship. It’s even more heart-breaking because there’s an immensely strong bond that’s created from being healed by someone. But regardless of these connections, with life’s ebbs and flows, people outgrow each other and have to keep moving forward. It’s the classic tale that sings of the love that can’t be.