SZA shows personal and musical growth in “SOS”

Abbott Lackey, Of The Talon staff

SZA tackles her own struggles with love, relationships, and self-doubt in her long-awaited second LP, SOS, which was released on Dec. 9. 

Setting the confident and gritty mood of the album, opener and title track “SOS” reintroduces SZA and shows she’s done crying over lost love: “All that **** I gave for free / And I want it back, want it back.”

Curating an eclectic mix of genres and sound, SZA pulled influence from surf rock and grunge and sampled from soul and gospel. The opening track samples Masego’s “Navajo,” which fans noted has also been sampled by Drake. The sound of the album isn’t the only thing with a varied energy; the mood also shows a full spectrum. Where SOS shines brightest is in its ability to illustrate the ebb and flow of strength in one moment and deep regret in the next. Seen most going from tracks like “Smoking on My Ex Pack,” showing euphoric confidence and moving to songs such as “Too Late” and “F2F,” giving a voice to the worry of her past romantic relationships and their lingering effect.

The LP shows obvious growth from her preceding album, Ctrl, while still keeping the same distinct charm that SZA has become known for since her debut in 2014. 

SOS spent five consecutive weeks near the top of the Billboard 200, a well- deserved achievement that brought critical acclaim and public attention to the St. Louis-born singer.