The music world has officially been blessed with SZA’s new album SOS, and it truly lives up to the hype. SOS is a must-listen filled with vocal versatility, addictive melodies, and heart-wrenching lyrics. Even with the album’s hard-hitting features including Travis Scott, Don Toliver, Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Phoebe Bridgers, the solo songs shine as the gems of the project.
SOS is a story of self-reflection and showcases SZA’s heightened self-awareness when it comes to relationships, both with herself and her partners. On the surface the album is about the waves of romance, but it also acts as SZA’s mirror as she reflects on her thoughts and actions and how they often sabotage her own happiness. The cover art of the album ties it all together as she sits isolated on a diving board surrounded by the ocean in introspection.
The album glides through multiple music genres, giving listeners R&B SZA, acoustic singer-songwriter SZA, and even a surprising punk-rock SZA. SOS feels like a more intimate and creatively free version of SZA, which makes sense as this project has been in the making for five years.
Some notable highlights include “Kill Bill,” the second song on SOS that begins the album with an intensity as SZA sings about wanting to kill her ex. The contrast between the light-hearted instrumental and soft vocals with the brutal lyrics: “I might kill my ex, I still love him though, rather be in jail than alone” is genius and perfectly represents the concept of silent rage.
Another great song is “Blind” which recently went viral on TikTok for its satisfying falsetto hook that is sure to scratch your brain. The song feels like floating and the lyrics are a brain dump of SZA’s innermost thoughts: “It’s so embarrassing, all of the love I seek, living inside of me, I can’t see I’m blind.”
“Nobody Gets Me” is a song that should be on a movie soundtrack. It’s sad, hopeful, and painfully relatable all wrapped in one. This acoustic ballad feels different for SZA, but proves that she can truly do any genre of music well because she knows how to evoke emotion through honest lyrics.
“Shirt” is SZA’s recent single off of SOS that is pure R&B excellence. The song’s heavy bass instrumental makes it danceable but still lyrically complex as she sings about feeling lost in who she is as a person, while also finding comfort in that space.
Overall, SOS is one of the strongest albums released this year and is already receiving critical acclaim. A deluxe version is rumored to be coming soon. Give it a listen!