5 Best Songs From SZA’s ‘CTRL’
SZA arrives ready for the spotlight with the release of Ctrl, an album that has been years in the making. Signing to Top Dawg Entertainment in July 2013, SZA released her debut EP Z the following year. That EP would earn the St. Louis native critical acclaim and the rising songstress was touted as one of the fresh faces expected to push R&B forward creatively.
Z peaked at No. 39 on the Billboard 200 and would boast singles with Kendrick Lamar ("Babylon") and Chance the Rapper ("Child's Play"), and fans looked forward to her eventual major label debut. But the wait would be longer than expected. The debut single from the project, (originally titled A), would arrive in 2015, but the following year would be filled with friction between SZA and the higher-ups at her label regarding the lack of an album release date and a perceived lack of urgency on TDE's part. But on April 28, 2017, SZA announced that she had struck a deal with RCA Records to release her debut album, now titled Ctrl.
Released on June 9, 2017, Ctrl has garnered positive responses--including from Diddy, who shared a video of him vibing out to one of the songs on the album. We've highlighted what we feel are the five top cuts from the album. Did your favorite make the cut?
A sample of River Tiber’s song “West" serves as the crux of "Broken Clocks," which producer THANKGOD4CODY compliments with 808 drums and other wrinkles, resulting in it being one of the more hypnotic compositions on Ctrl. Touching on the struggle between balancing work with pleasure and the internal strife that can result with a lack of the latter, "Broken Clocks" finds SZA in a introspective mood, as she crafts a number geared toward ambitious women looking to hold it all together without crumbling beneath the weight of it all.
SZA plays the role of seductress on the THANKGOD4CODY produced "The Weekend," a slow-burner from Ctrl that slows down the tempo and captures the bombshell getting sensual. Acknowledging her position as the other woman, SZA embraces being a mistress, purring "Tuesday and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday/I just keep him satisfied through the weekend/You're like 9 to 5, I'm the weekend" without shame, as she finds herself becoming the infidel. Virtues aside, "The Weekend" is a steamy tune--sure to become a late night soundtrack staple.
Originally released in December 2015 as part of a Ford Focus campaign starring SZA and Zoe Kravitz, "Drew Barrymore" was included on the Ctrl tracklist in spite of it being an early peek at the album. Produced by The Antydote & Carter Lang, "Drew Barrymore" touches on SZA's insecurities within herself and in regards to the state of her relationship, and makes for one of the more sobering offerings.
"Real niggas do not deserve pussy," SZA bluntly croons on "Doves In The Wind," a dusty composition powered by hearty kicks and snares, which the TDE first-lady maneuvers over with nimble nuance. In addition from SZA's harmonies, an appearance from Kendrick Lamar is also a highlight of "Doves In The Wind," as he continues to build on the momentum set by his DAMN. album with a string of high-profile guest verses. The third single released in support of Ctrl, "Doves In The Wind" is further evidence of SZA's penchant for infectious grooves and her ability to hold her own when cast alongside one of the biggest stars in all of music.
Guitar licks and ad-libs, courtesy of Travi$ Scott, comprise the opening of "Love Galore." Produced by Carter Lang & THANKGOD4CODY, "Love Galore" was first teased in November 2016, but was liberated in advance of Ctrl's official release, and revved up anticipation for the album to a fever pitch. Featuring silky vocals by SZA and a steady performance on the part of TRavi$ Scott, "Love Galore" is a song that ranks among the finest moments on Ctrl.