Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wake Forest chapter.

SZA has always been a highly influential woman in the music industry, but this past winter, her popularity seemed to completely skyrocket. For many young women, their first introduction to the musical genius was through songs like “Kill Bill” and “Nobody Gets Me.” While these songs are definitely fan favorites, to the SZA fans who have been around for about 6 years, we were left feeling a little bit nostalgic for the SZA we used to know. Ctrl was such an influential album and taught many young women of color so much about our personal lives and how to navigate relationships, as well. 

Her mother opens the album with words that embody the reality of growing up and trying to figure out who you are. She says, “That is my greatest fear, that if, if I lost control, or did not have control, things would just, you know, I would be fatal”. As young women, we often feel as though we’re just grasping at straws or trying to cling to anything that could give us a sense of control or ownership of our own lives. In her few words, she describes the panic that arouses at the mere thought of losing control of whatever we used to hold so tightly. Within the first five seconds of this 49 minute album, she encapsulates a small piece of what it means to be a young woman. With “Normal Girl,” “20 Something,” “Broken Clocks,” and many more, we are given a glimpse of what the album has in store, just by reading the titles.

SZA is a lyrical genius for knowing how to encapsulate the feelings of millions into a single album. The listener is able to experience the hardship of being a black woman in America as they live vicariously through her heartbreak, sexual endeavors, feelings of neglect and losing her grasp of control. Not only is Ctrl one of the best albums created in terms of popularity or the amount of streams, but it gives people an escape from reality during the times when they think they’ve lost all control. With her last song of the album, “20 Something,” SZA’s goal is to tell her listeners that sometimes it’s okay not to have full control of your life. Navigating life is no easy feat, and no one should be made to feel that it should be. Instead of societal criticism that comes with the internal struggle of trying to figure out what the rest of our lives should be, SZA invites us to take “Ctrl” of what we can in the moment. 

For the first time in a long time, SZA’s album Ctrl is the best musical interpretation of the lives of young black women as they go through the struggles that the world throws at them.

So what does this woman have in store for us next? At a free concert in New York last month, SZA announced that she’d be releasing another album this coming winter. Personally, I was ecstatic to hear that she wasn’t going to make her fans wait another 6 years for a new album. The only reservation I have is that I really hope this new album talks about the empowerment she has over her man as opposed to feeling desperate and in need of validation. Of course, these are emotions women go through, but Ctrl was arguably her best album to encapsulate those feelings.

Kameron Collins

Wake Forest '26

My name is Kameron Collins, and I'm a sophomore at Wake Forest University on the Pre-Law Track. I'm from Farmington, Connecticut and I plan on pursuing a major in History with Global Commerce Studies and Journalism minors. I really enjoy writing, so I was really excited when I saw that Wake had a Her Campus Club. I hope to learn more about myself and other college women through this opportunity!