Why Ctrl By SZA is the best album of our generation

How one album brings together an isolated generation
Why Ctrl By SZA is the best album of our generation

It was the summer of 2017. Hurricane Harvey was in full effect, NFL players were kneeling for the national anthem,Beyonce was pregnant with twins  and Donald Trump‘s Twitter was sending the media into a frenzy.If you turned on the radio at all during this time you could expect to hear “DNA” by Kendrick Lamar, “Magnolia” by PlayBoi Carti and one of the most popular albums of all time, “Ctrl”by SZA

“Ctrl”, the debut R&B solo album by Solana Imani Rowe, is a diary explaining the relationships, growing pains, insecurities, the beginnings of adulthood and the fear of losing control from the perspective of a black woman but has miraculously found itself relating to everyone of every gender, race and sexuality as a personal confession and a glimpse into her life. 

But what makes it the best album?

 These days it is not uncommon to be disappointed by a certain song on your favorite artist’s new album. Whether it’s lackluster compared to the other songs on the album or just plain old bad, there’s always one song that is strikingly unpopular among fans besides maybe a small group of people. However, SZA has managed to produce an album with absolutely no skips.The fluency,the lyrism, the production and nostalgic feel brings this album to life in a way that is completely its own. “Ctrl” is one of the few albums where I can truly say that each song has a very significant role to the story telling and feel. 

The skillful production of the album separates itself from the mediocrity right off the bat. 

Produced by Craig Balmori, Frank Dukes and Carter Lang, the team makes sweet and dreamy soundscapes heard in the intro of “Weekend” or “Go Gina””. The instrumentals perfectly convey the uneasiness of growing up but also the liveliness of being young. The little details such as cohesive transitions between each song,thoughtful advice from her grandmother and mother, the pacing between slow and somber to faster, more upbeat tracks bring this album to life in ways that are very rarely executed properly. The production of the album simply sweeps you off your feet with its unique and personal charming nature. 

SZA’s lyrics however are what give this album its gold stamp of approval. 

Honesty plays a big role in the albums overall confessional theme as she explores moral grays of romance. SZA manages to humanize herself in a way that makes her lyrics come across chill and laid-back while also not shying away from the heavy hitting, less talked about issues many suffer through in silence. This theme of confession is obvious in songs such as “Normal Girl”, a song explaining the high standards young girls are put under to be  considered attractive and only when they meet this high and unrealistic standard they are considered “normal”. SZA beautifully explains the longing to be seen as attractive for validation from others but  in the end concludes that she is normal because everyone shares these insecurities with her. Making such relatable connections with her audience makes for a beautiful sense of community among listeners. Through the high expectations of the world around us,”Ctrl” is a place of comfort and belonging for millions.

The Grammy nominated, Triple Certified Platinum album with a groundbreaking  311 weeks on the billboard charts,the second longest charting female R&B album in history, definitely  puts “Ctrl” in a league of its own. However, the heart,soul and unmistakable passion poured into the  artwork itself  puts it in our hearts forever. To its tear jerking ballads or its upbeat classics, the album remains timeless and relatable five years after its release. SZA masterfully articulated the variability of making and learning from mistakes, creating forever anthems for the young, dumb and confused. 

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