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Having survived a stressful recording process, Ctrl is a massive project from the queen of TDE. SZA promised an emotive and self-reflective release back when Ctrl was announced and she delivers that promise on all fronts.
In almost an hour, she effortlessly leaps in between genres and offers a very self-conscious take into the difficulties in her dating life as well as broken relationships, while she reclaims her identity. Her vocals are amazing, as she sounds as free and natural as possible without autotune or synthetic voiceovers and with fantastic interludes even including her mother, the album is relatable and empowering.
In many cases, it seems like the spiritual successor to Frank Oceans Blond, which was released the year before. She draws on her personal experiences in direct and honest manner. For example in the hit track “Love Galore” which features Travis Scott, she laments about a dead relationship on which the lady loses herself and her struggles with low self-worth in “Drew Barrymore”.
As she questions many aspects of love and self identity, the album becomes all the more familiar. You lose your self to the music, even Frank Ocean could not stop from recording a cover to The Weekend, which has become an anthem for sexual liberation. You go in lost and empty but the album has a way of elevating you, and there is music for everyone on this album.
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It is so refreshing to see a female R&B artist invite the listener into their world and explore her sexuality and her self very loudly, in a manner synonymous with their male colleagues, this is the kind of revolution Lil Kim’s Hardcore had on female rap. It is a really solid debut album and even though it has been 3 years since its release, with the recent release of a single, it is clear new music is on the horizon and it is only right to revisit this 8.5/10 gem.