This is the most open and honest SZA has ever been.
CTRL is about romance, sex, navigating your 20s, self-respect, admissions of guilt or lack thereof, how to love and be in love.
SZA sings openly about her shortcomings and insecurities, how she gets "so lonely I forget what I'm worth", and how "I wish I was comfortable just with myself / But I need you".
She talks about love in terms like, "I wanna shave my legs for you" and about sex in a way we're usually used to hearing only men rap about it.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
SZA's mother appears on interludes throughout, speaking about her need for control, even if it is an illusion, "because the alternative is an abyss".
And that's exactly what CTRL is. That darkness where nothing makes sense and SZA has no answers.
It's where Kendrick Lamar features on a feminist song "dedicated to vaginas".
It's where R&B beats and heavy bass come up against crashing symbols, 80s and folk guitar, pop synths, and rap swagger. Where SZA's vocals go from raspy soul to smooth R&B and straight pop and her emotive voice breaks speak volumes.
And it's one hell of a rabbit hole to go down.
Label: Top Dawg Entertainment
Verdict: A brutally honest, sonically rich leap down the rabbit hole.