THE SMOKE SIGNAL

THE SMOKE SIGNAL

THE SMOKE SIGNAL

Which is the ultimate SZA album?

Image from Printerval
Image from Printerval

Ever since the release of SOS, SZA’s popularity has skyrocketed. I am an avid SZA fan. She is my favorite singer and I’m happy she’s becoming more popular and that more people are discovering her music. Her two most popular albums, Ctrl and SOS, are both amazing. They both display SZA’s talent and skill. 

Each song on Ctrl has beautiful production. The production of each song makes the songs more emotional, contributing to their ability to tell a story. The songs in Ctrl give listeners a glimpse into SZA’s mind. The music on Ctrl tells the story of SZA’s life while simultaneously being relatable to her audience. I still remember the first time I listened to my favorite SZA song, “Prom,” in middle school. I related to the song back then, and I have only related to it more as I’ve gotten older. SZA’s lyrics tell a story, and her production only adds to her storytelling, making the song synonymous with music that would play in a coming-of-age movie. My favorite thing about Ctrl is the fact that the album tells a cumulative story, from start to finish. 

SOS tells a story, but it is less cumulative. Rather, the song tells a series of different stories in one album. The production in SOS is good, but it’s not memorable like the production in Ctrl. SOS makes up for its okay production with versatility. SZA explores several different genres in this album, including pop, her signature R&B, country, rap and pop-punk. She executes each genre excelentally. SOS demonstrates how much SZA has grown as an artist since her time away from singing. SZA is known for her “cursive singing,” or “SZAnese.” There is less SZAnese in SOS than Ctrl, which I personally prefer. She still sings in cursive, staying true to her distinct sound. It’s the best of both worlds. 

Both of these albums display SZA’s artistry and skill. Objectively, they are equally good. However, I have a personal preference for Ctrl. I love every single song on that album. There are no filler tracks, whereas SOS definitely has some skips. Ctrl is also so nostalgic to me. Ctrl led me to explore other genres of music outside of pop (I still love pop music, don’t get me wrong, but my music taste is much more diverse now) and introduced me to my favorite musician. Ctrl only becomes a more relatable album as the years go on, whereas I only relate to a few songs on SOS. I love SOS, but Ctrl is the superior album.

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About the Contributor
Ava Smith, Editor-in-Chief
Ava Smith is a junior at Hart High School. She has been a part of The Smoke Signal since her freshman year. Currently, she is Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper. Last year, she was the Arts and Reviews Editor. In her free time, she enjoys exercising, reading, writing, trying boba from different cafés and spending time with her friends and family.
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