REVIEW: SZA’s “Ctrl”

A focused sound with commanding vocal performances.

sza-ctrlSZA, Ctrl (Top Dawg)

On Ctrl, SZA provides a much more focused sound than her past releases with a slew of commanding vocal performances falling over live-leaning alternative R&B instrumentation. The work feels a bit like one continuous melody, which can have its drawbacks — the choruses aren’t necessarily for the ages — but her acrobatic melodies provide endless expression as she tackles the confusion of the “20-somethings.” From songs about being the other woman, to having a partner lose interest, to anxiety over wasted youth, SZA pinpoints relatability while avoiding tired clichés.


Trial track: “Drew Barrymore”