Home Arts & Entertainment SZA’s latest album ‘SOS’ is alarmingly great

SZA’s latest album ‘SOS’ is alarmingly great

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R&B singer SZA released her highly anticipated sophomore album “SOS” in December of 2022. Since its release, both fans and critics have been raving about the project. From songwriting to sampling, her record has been trending around the world.

The undeniable success of SZA’s debut album “Ctrl” catapulted the singer to new heights in the music industry. Following the 2017 release, the singer’s fanbase swarmed her with questions about a new album.

For a period of time, fans were convinced that SZA was not going to release another body of work. Once SZA announced the release date in her Saturday Night Live Performance of “Shirt”, fans instantly expressed their excitement for the album. After years of dropping memorable singles like “All the Stars” (2018) and “Kiss Me More” (2022), her new project has been met with overwhelming success.

From the first listen, SZA’s newest album is nothing short of attention grabbing. The body of work is dynamic, ranging from high energy trap-infused beats to emotional acoustics. The singer’s penmanship is equally as bold, displaying themes of self-acceptance and rejection. Featured artists Travis Scott and Phoebe Bridgers also fall into place very well on the tracks “Open Arms” and “Ghost in the Machine”. As a whole, “SOS” is a one-of-a-kind listening experience that cannot be replicated. 

SZA’s new album has left us with a number of unforgettable songs, but five specific tracks stood out from the rest. 

Toward the beginning of the record, the psychedelic hit “Kill Bill” stands out from the first listen. The singer approaches the concept of jealousy in a cryptic yet playful manner, saying that she’d “rather be in jail than alone.” The groovy drums and eerie synths help carry the narrative to new heights, emphasizing SZA’s charisma throughout the entire song. Accompanying the instrumental, the writing on the chorus is also well-crafted and catchy.

With a shameless demeanor on top of an energetic trap-infused beat, “Low” showcases the singer’s creative range as an artist. SZA gives audiences a taste of something new, doing her own take on melodic rapping. The unapologetically selfish lyrics convey a sense of confidence that makes it difficult for the listener to not get up and move. Although the track is different from the rest of the record, it still manages to blend in with no issues.

Full of acoustic guitars and string instruments, “Blind” goes into detail about the consequences of carelessness. From wanting dysfunction to feeling embarrassed about her needs, it is clear that the singer is lost in her thoughts. Despite the song being a deep cut, the track has succeeded at creating a personal listen for audiences around the world. The intimate feel of “Blind” has rightfully garnered the attention of fans and critics alike.

Shining light on the idea of falling out of love, “Gone Girl” shows SZA’s capabilities as both a singer and songwriter. With unique instrumentation and a head turning key change, the track stands out as a personal favorite on the record. The melody is an undeniable earworm, with a catchy hook and a notable vocal performance throughout. From start to finish, this song emphasizes the strengths of who SZA is as an artist.

Nearing the end of the record, the singer’s global smash “Good Days” shows audiences the growth that she has made outside of music. The track was released in December of 2020, but still holds up well. Encapsulating the feeling of freedom through flowy melodies and light synths, this song is an undeniable standout in SZA’s discography. Even though “Good Days” was previously released, the infectious feel of the beat still manages to give the listener an indescribable sense of resilience.

Knowing that these are only a few of the standout moments on the record, the rest of SZA’s sophomore album has even more notable moments. If I were in front of a crowd of people with a megaphone and had to tell them to do something, it would be to take at least one listen to the R&B phenomenon’s newest hit record.

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Hi, my name is Payton Barry. I am a senior at OHS, and this is my first year being a part of the staff at 42Fifty. I am involved in some of our school's extracurricular activities, which include Commotion and Theater. I adore music, pop culture, and I am beyond excited to be an Arts & Entertainment editor!

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