ALBUM REVIEW | SZA slays again in latest R&B album, 'SOS' – The Daily Athenaeum – thedaonline

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“SOS,” the second studio album by R&B singer SZA, released through Top Dawg Entertainment and RCA Records on Dec. 9, 2022.

“SOS,” the second studio album by R&B singer SZA, released through Top Dawg Entertainment and RCA Records on Dec. 9, 2022.
An artist with the ability to capture the hearts and minds of her listeners, R&B singer SZA is a master in conveying thematic concepts to the audience with a blend of different sounds and vocal elements.
Between the years of 2017 and 2022, SZA released a few singles here and there alongside her studio album “Ctrl.” One popular single was “Good Days,” which became a hit through online platforms such as TikTok. The song’s airy atmosphere lingered in the minds of listeners, reminding them of their lives’ good days.
These songs were just a tease at what was to come in SZA’s newest album, which was released right at the end of 2022, leaving audiences hanging for nearly five years in between albums.
SOS, SZA’s newest studio album, features 23 songs. 20 of the songs showcased are completely new, while the other 3 includeher previously released singles: “Good Days”, “Shirt” and “I Hate U”.
Upon its release, “SOS” has spent the last 5 weeks seeded at number one on the Billboard top 200, the first album to do so since Adele’s “30” in 2021. Many songs have taken the internet by storm, so here is a rundown of SZA’s newest tracks.
Her album opener is the song the album itself was named after, “SOS.” This piece sets the tone for the rest of the album; the lyrics show her taking back what belongs to her and demonstrates SZA’s evolution. Next is “Kill Bill,” which is one of the most popular songs due to TikTok, and the catchy lyrics of “I might kill my ex/ not the best idea.”
“Seek and Destroy,” is a very upbeat number with some of SZA’s most impressive vocals, as well as a catchy chorus revolving seeking freedom and space.
“Low” is another popular song from TikTok, where SZA seems to experiment with a different tone of voice, one more slowed down and deep. This mirrors her vocals in “Love Language,” which is an intimate romance song with deep lyrics.
“Blind,” yet another popular song through social media, is relatable in the sense that people tend to pretend they can’t see the things that they do not want for themselves.
Similarly, “Snooze” is all about not wanting to miss out on life, even by sleeping. Both songs show how people cope and react to situations life throws out, with the slow melody instilling a feeling of longingness.
“Notice Me” follows the same theme, but this time with an upbeat chorus and higher vocals than the last few. This song explains the human need to be noticed in such a beautiful way.
Meanwhile, “Gone Girl” further explains the need to be noticed, but in a much more slow and personal sense. The music portrays desperation, as SZA describes not wanting to be without someone, most likely a significant other.
“Smoking on my Ex Pack” is a side of SZA that the audience has not been familiarized with on this album, the song sounds as though she is yelling directly at one person. The song is only a minute and half long, in a revenge arc against her ex.
“F2F” is one of the most upbeat SZA songs I have ever heard, like a teenage rock anthem in a way. It has a very generic melody that many could enjoy.
“Nobody Gets Me” is another powerful anthem, where SZA uses her change in tone to emphasize the most meaningful lyrics in her overall message.
“Conceited”, one of my personal favorites, is guaranteed to get you feeling groovy. The beat is very catchy and the lyrics lighthearted, perfect for dancing. Getting the same vibe from “Too Late,” these songs show SZA’s talent of making relatable songs very catchy
“Special” is a very relatable song intended for a female audience, as SZA wishes she was “special” and like other girls, using very specific examples of what she wishes she could be. It is definitely one of the more somber songs on the album.
Finally, “Far” is SZA’s anthem about changing who she is and wanting better for herself. She repeatedly emphasizes the same lyrics, showing the value they have to her journey.
Last but not least are the songs featuring other artists. Those consist of “Used” ft. Don Toliver, “Ghost in the Machine” ft. Phoebe Bridgers, “Open Arms” ft. Travis Scott and “Forgiveness” ft. Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Each of these artists have a very different musical style than SZA, which provides contrasting vocals to her music.
My personal favorites are “Used” and “Open Arms,” partly due to my liking for Don Toliver and Travis Scott, but also because I would never have suspected artists so vastly different to collaborate with each other.
Looking at the album as a whole, SZA is transforming and blossoming into her career, exploring many different styles of music throughout this album. No two songs sound the same, which is very important in creating music.
While some people may not like certain songs, there is enjoyable music in “SOS” for everyone to find.
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