Diving Deeper into SZA’s Hit Album: “SOS”


SZA’s lyrics on “SOS” about her hardships in love spark passion in her fans. (Courtesy of Twitter)

With 2017 being the release of SZA’s last album, “Ctrl,” fans were eager to listen to the R&B artist’s third studio album, “SOS.” The album was released on Dec. 9, 2022, and the hit single from the album, “Kill Bill,” is currently number two on the Billboard Hot 100. This is not surprising, as fans began listening to the album incessantly almost immediately after its release. Prior to “SOS,” I myself was not an avid SZA fan, but I can confidently say that this set of serene, passionate and vengeful songs has made me one. The 23-track album, including features from Travis Scott, Phoebe Bridgers and Don Toliver, enables the artist to harness the listeners’ emotions in a variety of ways.

The album starts off strong with the tracks “SOS” and “Kill Bill,” which address the concept of time wasted on failed relationships and the grittier sides of romance. SZA uses tranquil R&B tunes to illustrate the layered process of losing someone when you are still in love with them. She illuminates this idea with the lines, “I might kill my ex / I still love him though.” What is respectable about this album, and especially this track, is how real and relatable it truly is; rather than representing relationships as perfect, seamless and overall love-filled experiences, SZA provides songs that outlines the potentially gut-wrenching and draining reality of these relationships, even when they come to an end. 

It is clear that SZA does not only garner affection from the sound of her music, but also from its deeper meanings and references. “SOS” truly has a song for every emotion that a listener could be trying to grasp and resonate with. After exploring the concepts of revenge and jealousy with “Seek & Destroy” and “F2F,” the artist takes a turn into the ideas of enlightenment and personal growth in both “Conceited” and “Forgiveless.” While listening to the album, I felt as though I was going through this roller coaster of feelings with the artist, not only through the lyricism, but also through the way SZA vocalizes these lyrics with such passion and raw emotion. This is specifically seen in the track “Nobody Gets Me,” in which the artist serenades the listener with both a heartfelt and heartbreaking song about losing someone who truly understands you. 

“SOS” defines and explores something that so many people go through, no matter what stage of life you are in: love. Whether this love be something blissful, painful or simply bittersweet, SZA does an excellent job of finding a way to emulate all of these things within 23 encapsulating songs. Since its release, I have not been able to stop listening to the masterpiece that is “SOS.” If you are looking for an album to motivate you to move on from your ex, or simply want to enjoy an overall exceptional album, I wholeheartedly recommend this set of versatile, emotional and layered songs. “SOS” is, without a doubt, my favorite piece of SZA’s work yet, and I am eager to see what she curates next.