Review: SZA’s new album, S.O.S, represents attempt to diversify her musical creativity [MUSE]


Siri Byrisetty

SZA finally dropped her second album S.O.S. after her famous album Ctrl in 2017. SOS was released at midnight on Dec. 9, 2022. This album consisted of 23 songs with collaborations from singers Don Toliver, Phoebe Bridgers, Travis Scott, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard.

S.O.S. explores a variety of sounds and feelings. I would say S.O.S unquestionably varies from the music that SZA is famous for especially for her famous album Ctrl. To me, S.O.S. seemed more of a trial-and-error album for SZA. Her S.O.S album seemed everywhere and did not stick to a specific music genre. Her album kind of went from R&B music to expanding into different genres. Pure R&B, 1990s pop, pop-punk, and soft rock are all represented in the songs. The premise of the album is her vocal talent, the courage of her vision, and her lyrical brutal honesty in that she feels too much, all the time. There isn’t a clear musical style that runs throughout the album. S.O.S is not Ctrl Part Two; if you are looking for a part two, check out Ctrl’s Deluxe Edition.

As I was listening to the album some of the lyrics seemed painful almost as if a heartbreak occurred in SZA. She dives deeper into the complete emotional range in her lyrics, focusing on her personal emotions, worries, and depressive moods especially in the song “Shirt”. SZA is a master at evoking ambiguous emotional states, such as the insecurities that result from the pain of comparing oneself to others like in the song “Special”. In “Gone Girl” seeking fulfillment from a potential person who may not exist is shown within the lyrics. My favorite song within this album has to be “Kill Bill”. This song set a scene of emotional devastation of a heartache between her ex. SZA is not afraid to get into complicated parts in her personality, especially wanting to kill her ex was one of the thoughts she had. My second favorite would have to be “F2F” , one of the unique tracks for SZA. It’s one in which SZA really embraces pop-punk with guitars.

Even though her new album, S.O.S, may not be as well executed compared to her last album Ctrl, SZA had a chance to diversify her music creativity. SZA will soon be making music videos for the tracks included in S.O.S.; “Nobody Gets Me” is the first video out.

I think this was a great album even though it was not similar to Ctrl, it has a variety of music genres with different collaborations. Overall, I would recommend this album to anyone who may like diverse musical genres, especially R&B.

On this blog, members of the Carmel High School chapter of the Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists (and the occasional guest writer) produce curations of all facets of popular culture, from TV shows to music to novels to technology. We hope our readers always leave with something new to muse over. Click here to read more from MUSE.