SZA Keeps It Cool On "CTRL"

The R&B world has been ready for SZA's debut, and after a few delays, it's finally here. It doesn't have much going on in it, though. SZA keeps it cool on CTRL, her chill debut album.

In many ways, CTRL is a signature R&B record. It begins coolly with 'Supermodel,' a track that slams sexism and exhibitionism while still maintaining a laidback vibe complete with a somber bass and a chill vibe. The lyrics are pretty blunt, but nonetheless it really makes an example of modern R&B. There's an even more driven example of the sound in the closing track '20 Something,' where SZA ponders her live at twenty years old, leaving the album off on a sweet note with some nice guitars.

There are plenty of features on the record, but none of them really add much. Travis Scott on 'Love Galore' helps the song maintain its free-flowing vibe, but he doesn't really give the song much more impact than it would without him. His ad-libs certainly don't add much, either. Kendrick Lamar is always a welcome surprise to any record, but on 'Doves In The Wind,' it just doesn't feel like he's in his element. Rapping about pussy in a non metaphorical way just doesn't sound right with him.

There isn't a lot on CTRL that really stands out. There are moments that are cool, like the playful arpeggios of 'Garden (Say It Like Dat)' or the wild percussion of 'The Weekend,' but nothing really amounts to something climactic. Most of the tracks just go by in a flash, nothing particularly memorable being in any singular track. The potential is there, but it is not exercised.

SZA keeps it cool on CTRL but doesn't back it up with many memorable sounds. It's a standard R&B album that accurately captures the scene of modern R&B, but beyond that, it doesn't amount to much else.

Favorite Track: 20 Something

Least Favorite Track: Love Galore

Rating: 69 / 100

Stream or buy CTRL on Apple Music: