Released: December 9. 2022
Label: Top Dawg • RCA
Producer: Aire Atlantica ∙ Babyface ∙ Beat Butcha ∙ Jeff Bhasker ∙ Rob Bisel ∙ Benny Blanco ∙ BLK ∙ Alessandro Buccellati ∙ Darkchild ∙ DJ Dahi ∙ Freaky Rob ∙ Teo Halm ∙ Emile Haynie ∙ Carter Lang ∙ Los Hendrix ∙ Will Miller ∙ Nascent ∙ The Rascals ∙ Scum ∙ Shellback ∙ Sir Dylan ∙ Skrrt ∙ ThankGod4Cody ∙ Michael Uzowuru ∙ Jay Versace ∙ Sammy Witte ∙Still Woozy ∙ Yakob ∙ Yuli
SZA’s evolution as an artist has been tremendous to see. From the mixtape days to the days of the CTRL album to now, SZA’s discography has allowed us to wear our hearts on our sleeve and be our most vulnerable, unapologetic imperfect selves. SZA has definitely become one of my favorite artists from my generation, and I love it here!
SZA was lying to us for years lmaooo but her sophomore album SOS was released on December 9, 2022 through Top Dawg Entertainment and RCA Records. The highly anticipated sophomore release came five years after her studio debut, and honestly was worth the wait! SOS is a R&B album with elements of hip hop pop, soul, gospel, jazz, country. surf/alt rock and grunge. The versatility was there and flows beautifully together as the songs transitions to the next. JUST remarkable!
The lyrical content of love, relationships, heartbreak, toxicity, insecurities, burning bridges, the art of letting go, and dissecting her own egotistical ways. SOS gives us our girl’s life in the past five years, and it was totally worth the wait. SZA stated on Hot 97 that the general theme is that she is pissed. & whewwww I totally get it. The album cover is literally the cherry on top. The cover art is heavily inspired by the photograph of Diana, Princess of Wales a week or so before she passed away.
SOS debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 & Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts with 318k equivalent album units sold, and being certified Gold by the RIAA. The album broke the record for the biggest streaming week ever for a R&B album, earning 404.58 million on demand streams. SZA also made R&B history with the milestone of SOS becoming the first R&B album by a woman to spend its first four weeks on the Billboard 200 at #1 since Janet Jackson’s ‘janet’ album, which was released in 1993.
Ladies & Gentlemen, I present to you SZA’s SOS.
Written by Solána Rowe∙ Gabriel Hardeman ∙ Rob Bisel ∙ Jahlil Gunter
“And all the petty shit aside, all the funny shit aside. I just want what’s mine.”SZA, SOS, 2022
The titular track SOS opens the album with a distress call in Morse code (which we’ll hear at different moments throughout the album,) and is followed up with the sound of a flare gun going off. This is an indication that from a symbolic perspective, the album is the answer to the distress call. Following that, we hear SZA on the track singing and free styling with such a confident flow.
Lyrically, she talks about feeling under appreciated and taken advantage of…and wanting to control the narrative and getting what’s rightfully hers. It’s becoming one of my top five favorite songs from her, because she was talking her shit! She even “read” herself, confirming the BBL allegations and how much bs she talks. She says she’s done with it all Chile! SOS debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 32, number 13 on the Billboard R&B/HH and number 12 on the Billboard R&B. The song contains a sample of Gabriel Hardeman Delegation’s 1976 Gospel record Until I Found the Lord (My Soul Couldn’t Rest) and an interpolation of Beyoncé’s Listen.
Written by Solána Rowe ∙ Carter Lang ∙Rob Bisel
The album follows up with the amazinggggggg Kill Bill. The title pays homage to the iconic Kill Bill duology series by director Quentin Tarantino, and the lyrical content is very similar to the plot…by detailing the singer’s homicidal fantasies of killing an ex-boyfriend (who had a hit out on her according to the music video) and his new girlfriend because she was jealous. The lyrical content can be seen as extreme, but it is very relatable if you ask me. I used to be a person who said I’d never do this in love or say this, but until you’re in that stage, you never know what you’re capable of saying and doing.
Kill Bill is literally my favorite song from the album, due to the elements of, psychedelic pop, R&B/soul and the groovy vibes it gives. The song has since been released as the fifth single from the album, peaking at number one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and number two on the Billboard Hot 100, giving SZA her highest charting song at this moment.
Seek & Destroy
Written by Solána Rowe ∙ Rob Bisel ∙ Carter Lang ∙ Tyran Donaldson ∙ Cody Fayne
Seek & Destroy is up next, and is one of my favorites as well. I like the production for the most part, but it’s definitely the lyrical content for me! The song debuted in the top ten on the Billboard R&B charts, peaking at number nine, and also at number twenty-four on the Hot 100 respectively.
Written by Solána Rowe ∙ Jocelyn Donald ∙ Rob Bisel ∙ Alessandro Buccellati ∙ Joseph Pincus
***features additional vocals by Travis Scott.
Low is slowly but surely becoming one of my favorites on the album the more I listen to it. Lyrically, the song speaks about creeping around on the low without the people assuming that it’s something going on. We get Travis Scott on the song in the background as well, and it’s a nice vibe. The song has debuted at number six on the Billboard R&B and number seventeen on the Hot 100 charts respectively.
Written by Solána Rowe • Anthony Clemons, Jr, • Tyrone Griffin, Jr • Pharrell Williams • Chad Hugo • Jazzaé De Waal • Jakob Rabitsch • Carter Lang • Cody Fayne • Rob Basel
Love Language is a masterpiece I’ve been wanting from SZA!!! The song is lyrically about the singer asking her significant other for more transparency, and wanting them to effectively communicate and shower her with the love she deserves. The song has debuted at number eight on the Billboard R&B and twenty-one on the Hot 100 charts respectively.
Love Language contains samples of SZA’s own 2020 single Hit Different & Aaliyah’s 1999 R&B hit I Don’t Wanna.
Written by Solána Rowe • Carter Lang • Rob Bisel • Margaux Whitney
Our first introduction to even a snippet of Blind was at the end of the music video to Shirt (which pops up later on the album,) but it is definitely one of SZA’s most introspective songs.
Lyrically, she speaks to how we are blind to what could be seen as toxic or dysfunctional relationships with men, but we don’t care because we need that validation no matter what. The lack of self-love will allow you to not being able to capture the essence of healthy and genuine love in our lives. The song debuted in the top three on the R&B charts, at number three and twelve on the Hot 100 charts as well.
Used (featuring Don Toliver)
Written by Solána Rowe • Caleb Toliver • John Hill • Dacoury Natche • Danny McKinnon • Ely Rise • John Key
Used is definitely one of the album’s gems, and rightfully so. Featuring Don Toliver, the song gave the singer another hit on the R&B charts..debuting at number twelve. The song also debuted at number thirty on the Billboard Hot 100.
Written by Solána Rowe • Kenneth Edmonds • Kristopher Riddick-Tynes • Leon Thomas III • Blair Ferguson
Snooze is the eighth track on the album and is lyrically about the singer longing to be loved by her “person, ” and being their number one person. The song debuted on the R&B charts on number eleven. The song also debuted at number twenty-nine one on the Hot 100 chart!!
Written by Solána Rowe ∙ Teo Hall ∙ Michael Uzowuru ∙Rob Bisel ∙ Cody Fayne
Notice Me has the singer wanting to be seen by the person she wants to be her person, not her girlfriend..but her person that he can always come to! It’s a little toxic, but I definitely get the message Chile. The song has debuted at twenty on the R&B charts.
Written by Solána Rowe ∙ Jeff Bhasker ∙Emile Haynie ∙ Rob Bisel ∙ Carter Lang ∙ Cody Fayne
The themes of love, relationships and abandonment makes Gone Girl a gem on SOS for sure. The song debuted in the top twenty on the R&B charts at number nineteen.
Smoking on My Ex Pack
Written by Solána Rowe ∙ Raina Taylor ∙ Clarence Scarborough ∙ Jahlil Gunter
Smoking on My Ex Pack had our girl in her rapping bag and I ENJOYED EVERY MOMENT OF IT!! From a lyrical perspective, the song is about independence and the power in moving on from these toxic men. Her saying “I got your favorite rapper blocked” is CRAZYYYYYY lmaoo. Smoking on My Ex Pack debuted at twenty-three on the R&B charts! The song contains a sample of Open Up Your Eyes by Webster Lewis.
Ghost in the Machine (featuring Phoebe Bridgers)
Written by Solána Rowe ∙ Phoebe Bridgers ∙ Carter Lang ∙ Marshall Vore ∙ Matt Cohn ∙ Rob Bisel
***features additional vocals by Sadhguru.
Ghost in the Machine is a song that touches on SZA’s frustration with the music industry and the machine she finds herself to be in. The singer proceeds to ask for a partner to get her out of the situation and save her from such things. The song debuted at number seventeen on the R&B charts!
Written by Solána Rowe ∙ Melissa Jefferson ∙ Rob Bisel ∙ Carter Lang
F2F is a rock influenced record that is lyrically about the singer trying to find ways to cope with the emptiness she feels about losing her lover. She is using sex with other people as a way to cope because she is missing them, but she wants that comfort and love that her ex gave her at the same time, so it’s all bad chile. What makes this song even more iconic is the fact
Nobody Gets Me
Written by Solána Rowe ∙ Benjamin Levin ∙ Rob Bisel ∙ Carter Lang
Nobody Gets Me is one of the best moments on the album, and I love everything about the song. With elements of country, folk & alternative rock, Nobody Gets Me is a ballad about the tale of the singer’s relationship with someone that’s over and she is basically explaining how it has affected her. It has left a tremendous mark on her and the song showcases how it has hurt her.
Released as the fourth single from the album, Nobody Gets Me debuted at number two on the Billboard R&B & number ten charts respectively.
Written by Solána Rowe ∙ Cody Fayne ∙ Rob Bisel
Conceited has my girl talking her shit and I was here for it when I first listened!! She was confident and bold and was trying feeling herself. She felt so powerful on this record!!! The song debuted at number twenty-seven on the R&B chart.
Written by Solána Rowe ∙ Benjamin Levin ∙ Johan Schuster ∙ Rob Bisel
Special is a very vulnerable song from SZA, and one thing I love about this song is how much I can relate to it. From a lyrical perspective, Special talks about how your significant other can ruin every positive and healthy aspect you had for yourself and how they made her hate the person she became..especially since she turned into the exact same person they were. Her storytelling about her own insecurities and regrets about being with them is truly remarkable. The song debuted at number sixteen on the Billboard R&B charts.
Written by Solána Rowe ∙ Sven Gamsky ∙Samuel Witte ∙ Rob Bisel ∙ Carter Lang ∙ Cody Fayne
Too Late has SZA pondering if it is too late to go back to a relationship that’s been broken and desiring to give it a second chance.
Written by Solána Rowe ∙ Rob Bisel ∙Carter Lang ∙Carlos Muñoz ∙ Eliot Dubock ∙ Tyran Donaldson
***features additional vocals by Sadhguru.
Far touches on the topic of rejection and coming to the realization that you’re not recognizing who you are. It’s like you’re far away cause you’re not too trusting of people because of how you’ve been treated.
Written by Solána Rowe ∙ Rodney Jerkins ∙ Robert Gueringer
Shirt is a BOP!!!! I love everything about this song, and the video is even more iconic. The song was released as the third single from the album, and peaked at number four on the R&B & number eleven on the Hot 100 charts respectively.
Open Arms (featuring Travis Scott)
Written by Solána Rowe ∙ Jacques Webster II ∙ Douglas Ford ∙ Rob Bisel ∙ Michael Uzowuru
OPEN ARMS IS MY MUTHAFUCKING SHIT!!!!!!! a collaboration with Travis Scott, the song is lyrically abotu being devoted to a person who embraces you for being the person that you are, and that’s the greatest feeling. When it gets to Travis part of the song, he talks about desiring to be in love and wanting them forever. The song debuted at number twenty-four on the R&B charts.
I Hate U
Written by Solána Rowe ∙ Rob Bisel ∙ Carter Lang ∙ Cody Fayne ∙ Dylan Patrice
I be so sick of you niggas, y’all contradicting!!!!!!SZA, I Hate U, 2021
I Hate U is a mf song okay! When SZA said “& if you wondered if I hate you, FUCK YOU!!!” I felt that shit 1000%! The electro-R&B influenced record is a break up song that is very descriptive about the details of what went wrong in the relationship as well.
You see the resentment from her throughout it, but she also still misses them as well. The song was a number one hit on the Billboard R&B. and peaked at number seven on Hot 100 charts respectively.
Written by Solána Rowe ∙ Jacob Collier ∙ Carter Lang ∙ Cody Fayne ∙ Carlos Muñoz ∙ Christopher Ruelas
Good Days is a song where the singer is focused on her future and not the past and present negativity, and this song hits so different for the that reason alone. With elements of alternative R&B and pop, the song was released as the lead single from the album & peaked in the top 3 on the R&B and number nine on the pop charts respectively. The song contains an interoplation of In Too Deep by Jacob Collier featuring Kiana Ledé.
Forgiveless (featuring Ol’ Dirty Bastard)
Written by Solána Rowe ∙ Russell Jones ∙ Bjork Guómundsdóttir ∙ Guy Sigsworth ∙Mark Bell ∙ Rodney Jerkins
I don’t need nobody help, angels surround me, though!SZA, Forgiveless, 2022
Forgiveless closes out the album and is the right song to do so because I felt every single word. Lyrically, the song speaks to people being disrespectful to our girl behind our back and I don’t like that at all!!! The song contains samples of the late & great Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s (who is featured on Forgiveless) The Stomp & Björk’s Hidden Place.
SOS is one of those albums that I cannot stop listening to and rightfully so! A lot of people felt like they couldn’t relate to this record, and if you’re in a space where you can’t..well good for you.
I love SZA because whether if the music is autobiographical or not, she caters to her audience and knows how to use past or present pain in her music. We love an artist who makes relatable content period! SOS will be one of those albums that everyone will appreciate down the line and deem a classic album. At least I think it will be. -MW.