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Ctrl

SZA

2017

Buy At Rough Trade
Ctrl
Album Summary

Ctrl (pronounced "control") is the debut studio album by American singer SZA. It was released on June 9, 2017, on Top Dawg Entertainment and RCA Records. It features guest appearances from Travis Scott, Kendrick Lamar, James Fauntleroy, and Isaiah Rashad. Originally scheduled for release in late 2015, it was delayed by SZA's experience of "a kind of blinding paralysis brought on by anxiety." She reworked the album until her record company took away her hard drive in the spring of 2017.SZA wrote most of the album's lyrics and collaborated with producers including Craig Balmoris, Frank Dukes, Carter Lang, Scum and ThankGod4Cody to achieve its sound. The efforts resulted in a primarily neo-soul and R&B album, with elements of hip-hop, electronic, pop, indie and soul. Lyrically, the album has a confessional theme, which touch upon SZA's personal experiences and complexities of modern love; including desire, competition, jealousy, sexual politics, social media, and low self-esteem. Ctrl was supported by five singles: "Drew Barrymore", "Love Galore", "The Weekend", "Broken Clocks", and "Garden (Say It Like Dat)". Upon release, it received widespread acclaim from music critics, many of whom praised its cohesiveness and production, as well as SZA's vocal delivery. The album debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200, moving 60,000 equivalent-album units in its first week. The album and its songs were nominated for four Grammy Awards, while SZA was nominated for Best New Artist. It was also included in several year-end best music lists by publications. In 2020, the album was ranked at 472 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.A deluxe edition featuring seven new songs was released on June 9, 2022, exactly five years after the original release.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.91

Votes

11157

Genres

  • Hip Hop
  • Soul

Reviews

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Wed Feb 09 2022
1

Eh, just modern r&b that seems to celebrate trashiness. Lots of ting ting ting sounds, do u wanna fuck dis pussy n---a, etc etc. Imagine if this ends up getting shot into space for the aliens to hear, haha. 1/5.

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Sun Sep 05 2021
4

A beautiful, messy dive into the mind, life, and relationships of SZA. The album is aptly named, as it touches so many aspects of what control means...what does it mean to be in control? What do you get from it, or what do other people get from having it over you? Is it worth it? So many thoughts and ideas radiate from SZA's confessional record. With the emotional and narrative strength she harbors, the production and music is as equally strong. And there lies a deeper layer of control, to have such a strong presence musically while covering subjects of infidelity, betrayal, the struggles of womanhood and youth...it's so richly done. There's definitely a lot to unpack, and sometimes the album gets lost in certain moments, but it feels like an album that only ages and matures with each listen. The Kendrick feature was a little weak for me, and some sound choices were a little underwhelming, but overall I really enjoy this album. It makes you think. Consider me a fan. Favorite Songs: Prom, 20 Something Least Favorite: Wavy

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Mon Oct 25 2021
4

4.4 + An honest and raw survey of love and sex from the perspective of a young female of color. SZA unbares herself emotionally, and at times it sounds like she's almost ugly-crying while handing me her phone so I can read a text from bae. Despite the rawness of emotion, the songs themselves are sophisticated with interesting chord structures and arrangements. Also, SZA's voice is just delicious. Highlights: "Supermodel", "The Weekend", "20 Something."

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Mon May 23 2022
4

Genre: Alternative R&B 4/5 One of modern R&B's sweetest and sexiest musical statements, SZA's CTRL is thematically introspective, and musically lush and playful. An album made for women by a woman, it's a project that doesn't speak much to the male experience, but is straightforward and honest enough to be transcendent in its message. SZA's voice is the true highlight here, intermingling with trap/R&B-influenced production throughout with style and grace, and by all accounts almost entirely improvised. Some songs here range from Neo-Soul to Indie Rock, as SZA's influences can be heard from Timbaland to The Police, and it forms a rich palate of sounds for us to feast on as the tracklist progresses. The first half of the album is some of the best R&B the decade has to offer, with Supermodel serving as a flawless, near-psychedelic intro, flowing into Love Galore and Doves in the Wind, the latter featuring one of Kendrick Lamar's best features, which leads into Drew Barrymore and Prom rounding out the first 5 tracks with alt-pop flair and synth hits that would make anyone groove out. The album is interspersed with sweet, loving advice being given to SZA by her mother over the phone, a classic trope that exists throughout R&B and hip-hop, and is a great communicating device to flesh out themes and concepts. Overall, this project excels at being itself, and not shying away from introspection, and providing us with solid tunes full of soul, energy, and passion. A pop-R&B triumph, as far as I'm concerned.

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Mon Mar 07 2022
4

NSFW but I did anyway. I liked it more and more as it progresses.

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Wed Sep 15 2021
2

Calming, pleasant grooves...about pussy and booty. Sigh.

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Wed Sep 15 2021
2

This album get's 2 stars for the creative song-writing. The vocals however are terrible. Her voice has so much processing and auto-tune applied that maybe she should just considered song-writing for others. If you want to hear an amazing R&B that came out around the time this one did check out Kali Uchis' Isolation. It should replace CTRL in the book.

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Wed Sep 22 2021
2

Not my bag but wasn't bad I guess. Hard to have an opinion

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Sun Jan 16 2022
1

Atrocious lyrics. Auto-tune vocals. Dull tunes. Worthy of a zero.

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Thu Apr 13 2023
1

If you are into gen Z dull productions, one note auto tune music about dicks, pussy and lost panties well this is definitely for you. What is the matter with you?.😀 Go and find some real music to listen to. 0

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Wed Oct 27 2021
5

Have heard this album praised before and this listen was good confirmation of that. Shocked I'd never listened before!

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Fri Dec 10 2021
5

I’m kicking myself for not listening to this sooner!

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Sun Mar 06 2022
5

Rating: 9/10 Bests songs: Love galore, Doves in the wind, Drew Barrymore, Prom, The weekend, Normal girl, Pretty little birds

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Wed Jul 20 2022
5

Great debut by a trendsetter

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Wed Aug 10 2022
5

While Jhene Aiko is more my flavor, I do have a soft spot for 2010s R&B. This album was no exception, with beautiful vocals, production, and features that spice up the projext.

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Mon Sep 12 2022
5

This isn’t a genre I’m very familiar with, and I hadn’t heard any of this before. Loads of talent packed onto this and I enjoyed the personal feel for the stories. I started off thinking this was in the 4 range, but on the second listen the amazing detail in the music and lyrics really struck me and I fell for this. There’s a dreamy quality to the songs that really elevates the album. Fantastic!

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Mon Sep 12 2022
5

Since I am old and the kids' music (anything released after 2000) doesn't tend to appeal to me (or so I think), I did not expect to like this much. What a great surprise! I love SZA's vocal fry and appreciate her P.O.V. I found several of the songs very moving. Maybe the kids are all right. (Ooh, I shouldn't call a woman in her 30s a kid. But, you know what I mean. The youngs. Signed, Gramma.)

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Mon Sep 12 2022
5

I am familiar with a little bit of SZA, but this is a first album listen. I quite appreciated it!

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Thu Sep 29 2022
5

this is the newest album we’ve gotten so far, and you can tell why it was included. amazing production, great features, and sza is an excellent vocalist. very solid 5

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Thu Sep 29 2022
5

I’m a sucker for neosoul, so of course I like this. SZA is great, she’s not my favorite in the genre, but the album is well produced, the lyrics are right, and SZA certainly brings a lot of emotion and energy to all of the tracks

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Fri Sep 30 2022
5

This album is the absolute best, I listened to this album a while before I got it here and it's so good, I don't know what else to say.

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Wed Oct 12 2022
5

A classic album. One of my favorites so far on the list.

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Wed Jun 08 2022
2

Inane lyrics. Boring simple melodies. Not worth listening to at all. My criteria for giving something one star is if it feels like it is actively trying to piss me off, and this one doesn't feel that way. This is bad enough that I still wanted to give it 1 star but by that measure it's more like 1.5.

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Wed Jul 20 2022
2

I am unfamiliar with SZA and her music. Ctrl is not for me. The music did not reach out and catch my attention, and the content of the lyrics is definitely not for me. This album is a 2. Perhaps if I had listened more closely to the lyrics, it would have been a 1.

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Thu Dec 21 2023
1

I try to confront everything this list sends to me with an open mind. This is immediately trash and I hate it. I don't need to hear an already dated auto-tune heavy trap album that has a three note variation talking about the various levels of self abuse you endured to get some dick.

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Fri Sep 17 2021
5

Absolutely gorgeous Normal Girl and Go Gina supremacy I loved the hints of her grandmother throughout

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Wed Nov 23 2022
5

For a time, CTRL seemed primed to become The Miseducation of our generation; in that, with one mission statement, SZA had the culture at the palm of her hand, signaling that she was the one in the driving seat (it didn't hurt that her label mate Kendrick was also there, along with a few other passengers...) taking us where we needed to go. The near fifty or so minutes of this masterwork is the epitome of 2017, yet another highmark for Black female musicians offering tantalizing and beyond valuable music that speaks for themselves and for the listeners who will keep flocking to it (and have been) in the present and near future. Bring on the new album... whenever that may be!

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Tue Dec 07 2021
4

SZA has talent and this album is a bop. For me probably not a modern-day classic but that's for the critics to decide, I guess.

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Thu Jan 18 2024
4

Feels like Tyler but for women

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Tue Aug 24 2021
2

Absolutely nothing special about this - nice enough, if you like that sort of thing. I don't. It's just offensive, passive racist rubbish.

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Sat Aug 05 2023
2

Perhaps the 21st Century's definitive statement on dick and pussy.

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Fri Oct 01 2021
1

I started hating this, (how many times can you say “f**k” and “p***y” in one song), but some of the other songs were pretty catchy. I just feel like the first couple of songs scraped the bottom of the barrel of depravity and immaturity I couldn’t enjoy the rest of the album. 🤷🏽‍♂️ To each his own.

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Fri Feb 18 2022
1

I feel like I don’t have the energy to talk about just how much of an eye-roll this album is the way she sings is not unique in any way, ukulele hoes have been singing like that for millennias, seriously dude just go on youtube, search ‘[random twenty one pilots song] ukulele cover’ and you’ll find hundreds of bitches who think they can sing, pronouncing stuff the dumbest way you can imagine https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/828397306256031804/944045530722492456/IMG_1357.jpg and the lyrics, holy shit those lyrics, everything she said was either some kinda dumbass Escher sentence or the most wild take that made me say ‘what the fuck am I actually hearing’ probably the best example was probably “Forrest Gump had a lot going for him, never without a pussy” like I don’t even wanna think about what the fuck she was thinking when she wrote that, holy fucking shit the production was alright half the time, nothing too special but not necessarily bad like I kinda digged the retro vibe on Prom but then she had to ruin it with “fErin not gwOwin uUuUponan” it’s not cool, nothing about that makes me think, wow she knows how’s to sing, it’s just such a fucking waste of time, how the hell do people like this? the features weren’t any good either, Travis Scott speaks for himself of course but even Kendrick had to make his voice so goddam annoying, like it sounded more annoying than Chance on Acid Rap somehow, and at least that was a good mixtape like come on, why even rap that verse if you’re gonna half ass it that much, it sounds like he recorded it on his phone or something jesus christ I could spend many more paragraphs talking about just how much I hate this shitshow, how I’d rather brush my teeth with super glue and wipe my ass with greasy, hot-off-the-grill pancakes than listen to this joyless, try-hard bullshit, but this album has me too exhausted to spend another another second hating it how the hell this album made it on this list is beyond me, but I think it gave Taylor Swifts 1984 a run for its money on the shit talk I want to give it like with they it gave me the rage, the infuriating energy to want to write about every ear screeching second, but like, at least she had the talent to write those songs SZA couldn’t even produce this, like it’s just so lame and depressing, why write about how dumb this is? holy fuck, rant over, I’m done, I need to go listen to some Swans or ABBA or something, fuck this album

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Wed Nov 09 2022
1

Anybody who relies solely on auto-tune for their vocals shouldn't be allowed to record, much less be on a "must listen" list. This should be on a website "1001 Albums You'll Wish That You Had Died Before Hearing".

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Fri Jan 13 2023
1

I detest autotune, thus I detest this pile of nonsense

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Wed Oct 04 2023
1

Weak lyrics, even worse singing with lot of autotune, and boring music. Sorry, it is a 1 from me.

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Thu Dec 14 2023
1

Horrible singing. Idiotic lyrics. I felt my IQ crank down a few points in real time listening to this jive. Bin it off.

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Sun Feb 18 2024
1

Nah super disliked it. Lyrics were so vapid and just did nothing. Lot's of N-__a and P---y in place of actual lyrics and meaning. Overproduced and underwritten.

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Wed Apr 17 2024
1

This album is diametrically opposed to everything that is worth striving for in this world. The antithesis of beauty, wisdom, humility, sophistication, virtue. Emblematic of the decay, decadence, and depravity of a modern Western culture that rots the mind, deadens the heart, and defiles the soul. Our ancestors look down on us disappointedly from a heaven that none of us will ever reach.

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Fri Apr 19 2024
1

#195. Is all modern pop music trashy skank music, or just the stuff on this list? 1/5: God awful

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Mon Aug 30 2021
5

Wow! Normalmente este tipo de música no es mi estilo, pero este disco me atrapó desde el inicio.

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Mon Jan 30 2023
5

I have been sleeping on SZA and this album was phenomenal. Shame on me for not listening to more of her stuff sooner!

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Fri Jun 30 2023
5

I probably would’ve given this an 8 but just reading the reviews on this site made me so annoyed I’m bumping up the score. I mean, “Why I can't stay alone just by myself? Wish I was comfortable just with myself but I need you,” almost made me cry this morning. 9/10

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Mon Aug 21 2023
5

Holy shit the racism in the reviews for this album. Some of you people should think twice about the things you think to say when a black woman’s singing.

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Fri Oct 27 2023
5

-CTRLLLLL YESSSS -not only have i listened to this album, but i LOVEEEEE IT -love sza so MUCH! -supermodel always makes me 😭 -god. doves in the WIND! DUDE! is so insane (one of my favorites) -drew barrymore. love of my life. -sza really made a beautiful insane album and its just out here dude -prom is one of the songs i listen to the least on this album but its still really good -the weekend is genuinely also one of my favorites -garden (say it like dat) is probably one of my least favorites but like Barely -her grandmas voice throughout the album ❤️ -BROKEN CLOCKSSSSS -i haven’t listened to anything a lot but its again. REALLY GOOD. -wavy interlude is the only song im not into in some way -NORMAL GIRL SUPREMACY ❗️❗️❗️❗️ -20 something too fucking relatable -this album is one of few albums i have listened to that deserve to be on this list -easy 5 stars

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Fri Oct 27 2023
5

A debut album this good? Was added to all my playlists in 2017.

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Thu Nov 23 2023
5

What a debut album! Not only does SZA bring it in the solo tracks, but also makes her presence felt alongside other great collaborators. Ctrl really \"is craft in action, a uniquely excellent album from a uniquely excellent artist.\"

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Thu Nov 23 2023
5

SZA made a new fan. She has such a great voice and her lyrics are funny, personal and sometimes dark/sarcastic. Loved the vibey beats in the background. Listened to it the whole day!

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Thu Jan 04 2024
5

This is what I listen to every time I'm on an airplane. For the longest time I had no idea what the second half of the album sounded like because I would always fall asleep. Every time I revisit I find a new thing to like.

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Mon Jan 08 2024
5

Gefällt mir gut. Sehr abwechslungsreiches Album

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Tue Jan 23 2024
5

Personally, I believe R&B was on the decline and SZA went so fucking hard on bring it back. This album is as iconic on the first listen as it will be on my last. Vocals are beautiful. Instrumentation is the perfect amount of experimental. Lyrics are exactly what’s needed. Nothing to not like here. 5/5

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Sat Jan 27 2024
5

Glad the list listened to my review from yesterday and gave me more 2010s music I’m a sucker for except it’s low fi r&b instead of indie rock. This particular itch hasn’t been scratched since way back when I got heaux tales like 2 years ago and while nothing on this album beats price tags, I think it’s a stronger album from end to end and also has standouts like drew barrymore and go Gina.

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Sun Mar 03 2024
5

Good album. Fun and unique and provocative.

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Wed Mar 06 2024
5

Never had listened to it. Very good and consistent. Defining for the genre

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Wed Mar 06 2024
5

One of my top ten. A song for every mood. SZA is an unparalleled RnB artist and I love pretty much any project she puts out.

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Sun Mar 10 2024
5

Such an amazing vocal performance by SZA. She conveys so much emotion in her voice. She also has a lot of range. I remember when this album came out listening to it on repeat. She also pulls some huge hip hop features like Travis Scott, Isaiah Rashad, and Kendrick Lamar. Just a great blend of hip hop, RnB, and pop. I think my favorite track is Broken Clocks although the whole thing is good front to back.

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Sun Mar 10 2024
5

SZA - Ctrl Debut album for SZA. Listening to this, I understand the hype and praise. I don't know why I never listened to this album. R & B, trap, and indie rolled into one to make this amazing album. I'm going to have to find time to listen to her new album soon! 5/5

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Thu Mar 21 2024
5

I don't think I have listened to all of these songs before- good ass album.

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Tue Apr 16 2024
5

Some immediate thoughts while listening: Female Frank Ocean Perfectly sums up mid-2010 millennial dating/hook-up/Tinder vibes For any hot mess "in their feelings" As a mid-30 year old man, this is just old enough for me to have some nostalgia for the era, where I too was in my feelings.

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Wed May 29 2024
5

If I hadn't been so busy catching up on things after a long weekend, I would have pulled out my vinyl copy. Still a great revisit to such a fantastic album! Love that this made the list.

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Thu May 30 2024
5

if i had any suspicions that many of this site's users were dull, pretentious men, then the reviews for this album certainly would have done nothing to confirm them! 👍🏻

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Wed Sep 15 2021
4

F$*&. This is what I hate about modern rap and R&B (thanks Dre). The opening track's lyrics are super deep to start and the music accompaniment is great. Her voice is also very good. Raw energy. And then it devolves into f$*&ing your man and how big his dick is. Track 3 doesn't even bother with the pretense - let's just sing about pussy. Again, thanks Dre and other trailblazers. One day I'll really delve into this because I love rock, which is often about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Perhaps its the bluntness of R&B that gets me, and perhaps rock has more poetic innuendo. Or maybe I'm being unfair to R&B and biased toward rock. BS lyrics and typical tropes aside, there's a lot to like about the album. Drew Barrymore is awesome; real powerful. Prom is a little poppy, but I quite liked it. I kinda knew where The Weekend was going from the opening sleazy/porn beat. Kind of stayed that way for a few tracks - a little more poetry and innuendo than earlier tracks though. All in all, she is a good lyricist, just wish she'd write about deeper stuff more often (like 20 Something). Music, beats, tracks well polished.

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Thu Nov 11 2021
4

Raw, harsh, by turns aggressive and melancholic.

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Fri Nov 19 2021
4

Didn't expect to like it....loved it!

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Mon Nov 29 2021
4

Love Sza’s lyrics, vocals are great, music is good

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Thu Dec 09 2021
4

Pussy juice exploding right in my eyes. It stings a little, but feels wonderful. I mix it with acid and throw it at innocent bystanders in the street. Fuck them.

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Wed Dec 15 2021
4

Bra grejer, musiken lät bra och jag tyckte SZAs meddelande var positivt och välakrivet.

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Sun Jan 23 2022
4

Pop-soul suavecín. No está mal.

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Mon Feb 14 2022
4

J’ai aime le style. R&b hiphop ca sonne biene t c’estplaisant 4

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Wed Feb 23 2022
4

You know what, its all very impressive.

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Wed Mar 09 2022
4

This was very slick - listened twice while working and it's melodic enough in most places that it slips pleasantly into the background - I'd probably get more out of it with a focused listen paying more attention to the lyrics... Fave track - "20 Something", maybe? Or "The Weekend"... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Mon Mar 28 2022
4

Synth drums: check R&B elements: check Multilayered productions: check Sexually explicit lyrics: check Big names as guests: check A TikTok single: check A stereotypical "modern music" album. But whether or not you agree that "modern music bad", this particular work is surprisingly well done.

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Thu Jun 09 2022
4

4.5/5. Better than I remember. The first half of the album is amazing. Great songs and great features. I felt that the second half of that album, while it was by no means bad, it lacked in song quality, compared to the first half. Overall, a really good album.

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Sun Jul 24 2022
4

one of the few modern r&b records very good early tracks heavily inspired by frank ocean

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