17 November 2022
I fucking love Sza. Her music just does something to my soul.
The chokehold she has on me is unprecedented. When I say that I love Sza, I am not playing. Something about her music feels ethereal. Her voice and intonation switches between raspy, soft and whisper-like, to deep and soulful, while er lyrics express confusion and frustration with herself (just like the rest of us) while simultaneously recognising progress she’s made and a desire to do better. There’s something so raw and honest about her music that makes it so compelling. Her enunciation is hard to decipher for the most part too, which only adds to her overall aura of feeling like she’s from out of this realm. It’s unique and there’s nobody else in the industry that has the same depth (in my opinion).
If you don’t know her and have been living under a rock, Miss Solana (better known as Sza) has been in the game longer than you would think. After meeting rapper and producer, Terrence Henderson, she was signed to Top Dawg Entertainment and got her record deal in 2013.
I have been a Sza fan since way back (I’m talking about SoundCloud days). Her first album “Ctrl” was released in June 2017 after numerous delays, and ended up certified platinum.
I genuinely feel like her music is restorative to my mental health and therapeutic to my soul. I tell everyone that my number one form of self care is blasting SZA’s music and singing it full bellied. I know half the words don’t relate to me directly, but it’s the emotional depth and self-awareness of her self-destructive actions and plight that you can relate to.
When I broke up with my ex-boyfriend, the song “Normal Girl” was my rock. The lyrics “this time next year, I’ll be living so good, won’t remember no pain, I swear” was something I would scream as if I was on stage with her. The song takes you through motions of just feeling like you don’t fit the expected archetype and that you wish you could conform to what society expects a “normal girl” to be like. “Broken Clocks” was also there to help me go through the motions. A broken clock metaphorically represents the stillness of time, stagnancy and feeling like you lack productivity, which Sza in this song was trying to do the converse of. She was making ends meet, “running fast to her day job” and focussing on staying on the grind when things were seemingly falling apart; something which resonated with me immensely. That’s what this song is perfect for; when you’re on your own shit, just vibing and need a reminder of how important you are despite things feeling stagnant.
Sza’s drop of CTRL is proof that we are a starved fandom. After “Ctrl,” Sza in her own right has released “Hit Different,” featuring Ty Dolla Sign and then “Good Days” which went on to become her biggest hit. For the 5th anniversary of Ctrl in June 2022, Sza dropped “Ctrl - Deluxe.’ I am SO appreciative that she released the deluxe version - she dropped additional tracks like “2AM” and “Jodie,” and the alternative “Love Galore” verse (incredible…. “I been looking good, I been feeling nice, working on my aura, cleaning up”) that we’ve all been listening to on SoundCloud and YouTube since the album came out. Like, are you even a Sza fan if you DON’T know “2am”?
Two years ago, in December 2020, Sza teased a brief snippet of a song that had the words “blood stain on my shirt” in it. Tik Tok went bat shit crazy over it. Then, in March 2021, at the end of the “Good Days” video, Sza dropped a teaser for “Shirt”. That 30 second teaser was BEYOND catchy. So many lyrics in the snippet itself that were so compelling… “Feeling lost but I like it, comfort in my sins…” “Taste of resentment simmer on my skin.” The song lyrics just embody a Sza who is striving for growth and change, and the way in which SZA sings the song just brings such an other realm-like vibe. Well... two whole years after she teased it and released the snippet, she’s finally released the song and the music video starring academy award winning LaKeith Stanfield.
This song, as per, is an absolute banger and despite it gaining hype TWO YEARS AGO, the whole song is incredible. To me, Sza does not miss. She’s on a lot of features (“Persuasive” by Doechii ft. Sza is my jam right now and I absolutely loved her on Doja’s “Kiss Me More” and Summer Walker’s “No Love”), so unlike Rihanna, I can’t say she’s in retirement or hiding. But Sza just does not release her own music in a timely manner. Is it because she’s a perfectionist? We just are by far the most starved fandom and we exude a simultaneous feeling of appreciation yet hunger for more because it is never enough.
Although I never thought I’d hear the complete version of this song, I’m glad she took her time because this song is everything I can ask for. While it’s frustrating that she takes years to drop her own music, she said that she was unhappy with the visuals for the video and parts of the song, and would hand it in once she’d rectified this.
The music video and the song takes you through her journey of being with a lover in a relationship that seems somewhat toxic (exemplified by them quite literally killing people in their way together). She goes through a journey of breaking her soul ties with her lover, killing off her shadow self and illustrating so much growth. It’s evident that this woman thinks through her music and videos and they all mean something to her.
At the end of the video, she teases a new song, “Blind,”. Fans have been even MORE shook as to mark her 33rd birthday which came shortly after the release of “Shirt”, scorpio queen Sza marked the day by sharing a cryptic teaser called “PSA” indicating new music was coming soon. Fans are commenting on the video saying things like “This CANNOT be the SZA we know. Consecutive new releases? I USED TO PRAY FOR TIMES LIKE THIS” and “I am not going to lie. Even though we had to wait 5 years. SHE is going to make it all worth it!”
So thank you miss Solana. Until the next drop!