REVIEW: SZA’s “SOS” explores feelings of heartbreak


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SZA’s long-awaited album reflects bitterness and grief from a past relationship.

Since the release of her debut studio album “Ctrl” in 2017, R&B singer SZA returned with her second album “SOS,” on Friday, Dec. 9. “SOS” consists of 23 songs featuring top artists, Phoebe Bridgers, Travis Scott, Don Toliver and Ol’ Dirty Bastard, with a total listening time of 68 minutes. 

The opening track, “SOS,” has little musical elements to highlight SZA’s vocals. Although surprising from SZA’s usual style, the intriguing vocals make a great introduction for the rest of the album. Highlighting SZA’s raw vocal talent helps to diversify the album, as the song radiates independence and assurance of herself. 

“Know you been more than lost / Without me,” SZA sings. 

“Kill Bill” is the second song on the album, starting with an eerie and mysterious vibe, transitioning to soft vocals that contrast with the strong drums and background beat. The song demonstrates the confusion felt from a breakup and how one may miss their ex, trying to fight the fear of loneliness and betrayal.

I might kill my ex, not the best idea / His new girlfriend’s next, how’d I get here? / I might kill my ex, I still love him, though / Rather be in jail than alone,” SZA sings. 

Out of the four songs featuring other artists, “Ghost in the Machine (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)” is an extraordinary mix of both artists’ vocals. Bridgers expresses a soft, angelic voice that perfectly compliments SZA’s melodic and dynamic vocals. The song is sung perfectly between the two, and the lyrics compliment the hurt yet empowering aura of the background music. Behind the pleasing vocals, the lyrics cast a spotlight on the inner anger caused by a bad relationship. 

Screaming at you in the Ludlow / I was yours for free / I don’t get existential / I just think about myself and look where that got me,” Bridgers sings. 

Matching the bitter energy in both “Kill Bill” and “Ghost in the Machine (feat. Phoebe Bridgers),” “Gone Girl” is sung with irritation and disappointment. SZA sings from the perspective of someone in a relationship who does not feel appreciated, warning their partner that they are unhappy and want to break up.

“I need your touch, not your scrutiny (Scrutiny) / Squeezin’ too tight, boy, you’re losin’ me / Boy, you’re losing,” SZA sings. 

“Special” contrasts the anger highlighted in the previous tracks, with the song coming from a heartbroken and regretful perspective. The slow, emotional tune illustrates the image of a girl wishing she looked like another woman her boyfriend stares at. The girl compares herself, blaming her ex-boyfriend, causing her to slowly lose herself and feel unworthy. 

“I used to be special / But you made me hate me / Regret that I changed me / I hate that you made me / Just like you,” SZA sings. 

 “SOS” is the ultimate breakup album, with a mixture of songs displaying heartbreak, regret and revenge. SZA leaves her listeners impressed with her comeback and inspired by another great album.