SZA, the potentate of new-school R&B, came through like a wrecking ball in the pop canon, with her ethereal voice and cutting-edge sound. An audacious roar against genre boundaries, SZA’s music, rich with the textures of contemporary pop, R&B, and neo-soul, provides a sumptuous banquet for the ears. With ‘SOS’ from her formidable catalog, SZA flexes her lyrical prowess, weaving an intricate tapestry of raw emotion and soaring metaphors. Charged with a confessional lyricism that leaves no heartstring untouched, ‘SOS’ digs deep into love, loss, and self-awareness.
In the same vein, tunes like ‘Kill Bill’, ‘Love Language’, and ‘Notice Me’ showcase SZA’s impeccable knack for crafting poignant, soul-searching anthems that speak volumes about the modern female experience. Whether teaming up with the likes of Don Toliver in ‘Used’ or Phoebe Bridgers in ‘Ghost in the Machine’, or going solo in ‘I Hate U’ and ‘Good Days’, SZA is fearless in exposing her vulnerability, baring her soul in the most melodious ways possible.
This journey will dive headfirst into the nooks and crannies of ‘SOS’, dissecting the lyrics bar by bar, and how it represents a microcosm of SZA’s larger narrative. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a newbie trying to decipher SZA’s world, this deep dive will surely leave you with a better understanding of her lyrical genius. So let’s get into it. From ‘Blind’ to ‘Forgiveless (feat. Ol’ Dirty Bastard)’, here are the Breaking down the Lyrics on ‘SOS’ by ‘SZA’.
The singer-songwriter lays her emotions bare, expressing her struggles and frustrations, using her lyrics as a cathartic tool. Tired of giving without receiving, she brings forth the motif of ownership, insisting on the need to claim what’s hers. She talks about the exploitation she’s faced, particularly about the creativity she has given away freely, now demanding it back. A clear message embraced by the line ‘This ain’t no warning shot’.
Taking aim at an undeserving ex, she taps into a common narrative of feeling replaced, but with a twist. The replacement? Merely a shadow of her unique self, a sentiment echoed in the line ‘They can’t survive off mini-me’s’. Clearly drawing parallel to the clones of the music industry, SZA stands her ground as unique, irreplaceable. ‘SOS’ rings out as a bold declaration, as SZA demands recognition and establishes her position: she’s not just another pop artist, she’s a vital force shaping the pop music narrative.
2. Kill Bill
Here, she wrestles with the crushing realization of an ex finding happiness elsewhere, lyrically embodying a jealousy so fierce it spawns thoughts of fratricide, albeit metaphorically. “I’m so mature, I’m so mature. I got me a therapist to tell me there’s other men, I don’t want none, I just want you…” she croons, oscillating between self-awareness and obsession, juxtaposing claims of maturity with vengeful threats. With every bar, SZA underscores her soulful angst to gripping effect, painting a picture of love’s aftermath that is as unsettling as it is poignant. Infusing the track with her raw vulnerability, SZA delivers a retro-futuristic sonic tableau that palpably manifests the dizzying and potentially destructive side effects of unrequited love.
3. Seek & Destroy
The lyrics embody an all-out declaration of war against romantic complacency and emotional snares, a journey peppered with fleeting connections and spur-of-the-moment thrills. Our songstress isn’t asking for permission; she’s taking the reins, unapologetically steering towards the crash and burn of her addictive patterns. With each ‘Do it to you’, she dances on the edge of regret and empowerment, painting a vivid picture of vulnerability disguised as recklessness.
The song serves as a potent reminder that pain can fuel growth, that in that surrender to chaos there’s a sense of release and, ironically, control. Blunt lines like ‘All the pain I know, Is used to fuel my soul’ showcase SZA’s knack for lyrical rawness, translating messy human emotions into relatable anthems. Feeling lost, destructive desires, the craving for connection—all find a home in this complex tapestry. It’s an intimate glimpse into the turbulent seas that often underline personal battles and a testament to SZA’s talent for creating profound narratives.
Taking a deep dive into the contrast between public persona and private chaos, embodied in lyrics that provide a peek into her need for maintaining a low profile while dealing with personal tumults. Spitting bars about her double life—one of solitude and silence in public, while entirely different in the confines of the bedroom—SZA takes control of her narrative, asserting her intolerance for intrusion into her private life. The recurring theme of keeping things ‘lowski’ underpins the entire track, symbolizing her desire for confidentiality and space. Decoding the emotional undertones, we find SZA undressing relationship pains, switching love for lust, and addressing an ex who seems haunted by her presence. Far from a plea, “Low” is a bold, unapologetic assertion of her independence, calling for respect of boundaries and a rejection of unsolicited vulnerability.
5. Love Language
It’s laden with raw emotional honesty, as SZA lays bare her insecurities and desires. She intimately explores the gnawing demand for validation, discussing the struggle to understand her partner’s emotional language while dealing with her own self-worth issues. SZA’s lyrical prowess truly shines, as she encapsulates a universal theme of striving to comprehend a lover’s communication style, feeling inferior and overlooked despite her best attempts. The track serves as a vulnerable confession of her innermost fears and desires, emphasizing the need for transparent communication in a relationship. The metaphorical ‘love language’ stands for understanding one’s partner better, to foster a deeper emotional connection. It’s a poignant narrative that strikes a chord, showcasing SZA’s knack for turning personal experiences into relatable anthems.
The song is a see-saw between moments of self-awareness and bittersweet denial, embodying push-and-pull dynamics in romantic entanglements. She wrestles with internal conflicts, battling desires of the flesh versus the quest for self-love and worth.
Thematically, the lyrics are like an unsentimental journey through the underbelly of love, unveiling the stark reality behind idealized romance. The recurring phrase “I’m blind” is not a literal visual impairment, but rather, a metaphorical self-confession of her inability to recognize the love and strength within herself. Simultaneously, there’s a powerful assertion of autonomy, with SZA clearly stating her disdain for playing the societal “pick-me” girl.
Overall, “Blind” is akin to a raw diary entry, a peek into SZA’s world of emotional vulnerability and resilience, a testament to her lyrical prowess and her ability to connect that visceral feeling of grappling with self-worth in love and life.
7. Used (feat. Don Toliver)
This hits us with an introspective wave on this track, grappling with the handful of feelings that come with being used and feeling out of touch. Our protagonist is battle-worn but holding it together, keenly aware of the emotional toll her relationships have taken. In the haunting chorus, there’s a sense of disconnection as she laments, “I feel like it’s over / Something’s calling to get closer.” Her acknowledgment of self-perceived sanity level at a “6.7” highlights her simultaneous struggle with maintaining mental health alongside these crushing emotional weights.
Don Toliver, a gifted emotional narrator himself, brings a welcomed contrast. His verse mirrors SZA’s sentiments — grappling with the disconnection and feeling used, however, from a different perspective. Together, they deliver a poignant exploration of the complexities of love, ego clashes, and emotional drain. It’s a raw and real chapter in a relationship that’s often brushed over. So yeah, “Used” gives room for a whole lot of introspection, and it’s a testament to SZA’s lyrical prowess.
The lyrics are awash in the complexity of romance. SZA doesn’t just serve up clichéd narratives about love. Rather, she’s in the trenches, dissecting the convoluted dynamics that play out when two souls intertwine. This potent brew of vulnerability and strength is cooked up with a healthy dollop of SZA’s signature brand of blunt honesty.
In “Snooze”, she lays bare the tug-of-war between the passion of the moment and the fear of being genuinely ‘asleep’ to the reality of the relationship’s circumstances. She exposes the convoluted battle between willing to sacrifice for the other person while grappling with the fact that this might be one-sided. It’s a reckless surrender to love even when the cost of losing oneself is apparent. The stark juxtaposition of carrying out daring acts for her significant other, while acknowledging her ‘main one’ status in his life, creates a tension palpable in each verse.
The track is a raw confession of what it means to be so deeply invested in someone that even the danger of losing oneself isn’t enough deterrent. At its core, “Snooze” is a plea, a shout into the void, about the urgency of seizing what could be fleeting moments of love and connection.
9. Notice Me
Oh the emotions SZA traverses in a complicated relationship. While she insists that she doesn’t want to be relegated to the role of a girlfriend, she craves to be noticed and acknowledged by her amore. The song pulsates with an undercurrent of simmering frustration as she cuts through the all-too-familiar charade of transactional affections (“…you be jockin’ me for all my jewels”). There’s a palpable yearning to transcend the constraints of labels (“I don’t wanna be your girlfriend, I’m just tryna be your person”). With “Notice Me,” SZA masterfully navigates the no man’s land between rigid societal expectations and the unfettered realm of personal desires. It’s a stirring testament to the fact that modern love isn’t always about neatly defined roles and rituals; it’s the raw, unvarnished connection that truly counts.
10. Gone Girl
Painting a vivid picture with her soulful voice, she navigates the labyrinth of longing and loss, underscored by a longing for freedom and acceptance. The lyrics reveal a profound struggle between attachment and liberation, with SZA yearning for ‘space and security’ while struggling to silence the many voices in her head.
Her repeated emphasis on ‘Gone, Gone Girl’ manifests as a desperate plea for understanding, an anthem for self-evolution. It resonates as both self-admonition and a message to an unnamed partner who should learn to “face it”. Her narrative articulates the difficulty in growing “without hating the process” and finding meaning amidst seeming nonsense. The themes of strength, resilience, and loss are woven seamlessly into this musical tapestry, an honest portrayal of a woman striving to find her place and purpose.
11. Smoking on my Ex Pack
This song delves into the nitty-gritty of SZA’s past entanglements as she smokes the metaphorical ‘ex pack’ – a nod to her dismissive attitude towards former lovers. SZA isn’t afraid to show her prickly side, dropping lines about being ‘really not friendly’ and wanting to get her ‘credit’ – a clear demand for recognition. She’s confrontational with her exes, referencing blocking a ‘favorite rapper’ and a sports star begging for a text back. The chorus, ‘Smokin’ on my Ex Pack tonight’, serves as a triumphant refrain, highlighting her ability to move on from the past. At the same time, the undercurrent of trust weaves the narrative together, showing that while she’s letting go of past ties, she still values reliability and trustworthiness. This track isn’t just a dismissal, it’s a bold assertion of SZA’s independence and resilience against past emotional turmoil.
12. Ghost in the Machine (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)
This track is a searing commentary on our culture’s obsession with perfection and the devastating toll it takes on self-perception. The lyrics convey a desperate yearning for authentic human connection, a plea for ‘humanity’ amidst a world drowning in vanity.
The song is laced with dystopian undertones, referencing a robotic existence that ironically has more heart than the singer. There’s a sense of weariness, as SZA describes an inability to ‘power down’, highlighting the ceaseless nature of our digital lives. Bridgers makes an impactful entrance in the third verse, echoing SZA’s sentiments while bringing a raw, ethereal energy to the track. The song is a call to arms against superficiality, a plea for substance in a world often devoid of it.
The lyrical narrative is a candid commentary on the aftermath of a crumbling relationship and the desperate attempts to fill the emotional vacuum left behind. Through the psyche of a character grappling with loneliness, SZA unveils a paradox of self-loathing and yearning, converging on the refrain “I fuck him ’cause I miss you.” The lyrics expose a vulnerable individual caught in a vicious cycle of seeking physical solace as a poor substitute for emotional connection.
The verses delve into themes of betrayal and estrangement, with our protagonist haunted by the thought of their ex-lover moving on. The haunting phrase – “Missin’ my daddy when the nights get cold” – subtly captures childhood insecurities interwoven into adult disappointments. Above all, “F2F” demonstrates SZA’s artistry in translating raw and intimate emotions into lyrical poetry, painting an evocative picture of love’s messy aftermath.
14. Nobody Gets Me
She deftly weaves a narrative of love, loss, and self-reflection, illustrating a painful but profound journey. SZA subtly references her hiatus from music with the line “Took a long vacation, no makeup, just Jay-Z.” Her candid, confessional style shines through, unmasking raw hurt and regret, and the desire for authentic connection. The powerful refrain, “Nobody gets me like you” underscores the isolation she experiences, which is only softened when she’s with the subject of the song. The layered story of a broken engagement, and the immense self-doubt it births, pulls listeners into her internal struggle. Emphasizing the challenge of letting go, SZA’s lyrics echo the ache of closure and signal her yearning for self-love in the wake of heartbreak.
This track is a brazen anthem of self-empowerment and independence, layered over a beat that’s as addictive as it is revolutionary. Taking us on a lyrical rollercoaster, SZA is unapologetically herself, oozing self-confidence and uncompromising individualism. She disavows any dependence on others for validation or companionship, rejecting societal expectations with profound assertiveness. Emphasizing her satisfaction with her financial status and physical appearance, she discards any guilt or remorse tied to self-improvement.
This power ballad is a testament to SZA’s brilliance in claiming her narrative, framing her actions not as antagonistic, but as essential parts of her personal evolution. The repeated refrain “I’m betting on me” echoes as a definitive statement of self-belief and determination. SZA reminds us that assertiveness is not synonymous with arrogance, but a bold declaration of autonomy and self-reliance. Deliciously defiant, “Conceited” is a treatise of female empowerment wrapped in audacious pop swagger.
Commencing with SZA comparing herself to a seemingly ‘perfect’ girl from a Gucci store – a symbolic representation of societal standards of beauty. She touches on the insecurity caused by perceived flaws, painting a picture of dissatisfaction with her own natural beauty.
As the narrative evolves, it reveals a toxic relationship that leaves her emotionally bruised and self-doubting. Her yearning for recognition is evident, with the repeated line ‘I wish I was special’ embodying the singer’s struggle with identity and validation in a love gone sour. Eventually, the lyrics convey regret and self-awareness as the heroine hopes to reclaim the ‘special’ she feels she has lost. SZA’s ‘Special’ is a masterclass in the complexity of vulnerability, a profound commentary on self-worth dynamics within romantic relationships and the trials of maintaining personal identity.
17. Too Late
The lyrics painfully detail the artist’s inner turmoil as she questions the viability of the relationship. With haunting refrains of “is it too late for us?” and “we both dangerous”, SZA captures the destructive dance between lovers who can’t bear to stay apart despite the havoc they wreak on each other. The edgy undertone of danger, palpable in lines like “moving so close, we combust”, conveys the volatility and excitement of the romance. But it’s not all gloom and doom. SZA also touches on the unquenchable desire for more – a profound longing encapsulated in the simple but potent line: “is it bad that I want more?”. The singer’s desperation to be loved, albeit a love that she admits “sucks”, is a raw and relatable exploration of the complex dynamics of love.
This unravels a narrative of emotional exhaustion and self-preservation, with the protagonist seeking distance after a devastating romantic experience. Here, the repeated stress on ‘far’ signifies both a physical and emotional detachment, a form of self-preservation. But concurrently, it conveys an unfamiliarity with oneself, pointing to a lost sense of identity born out of toxic love. SZA is lyrically confronting the echoes of manipulation and feeling ‘used’, striving to reclaim her power, her sanity, and her identity. While often echoing sentiments of loneliness and rejection, the song is not purely a lament but also a declaration of resilience and self-evolution, as SZA’s protagonist takes a stand against toxic relationships, marking the pivotal journey from being emotionally ‘screwed’ to a state of self-affirmed liberation.
This captivating pop track dissects the intense swirl of self-doubt, broken relationships, and desperate yearning for acceptance. The protagonist’s journey brims with vulnerability, encapsulated in dark narratives of lost love and deep-seated resentment. SZA delves into the pain of perceived inadequacy, the mental turmoil of her quest for perfection, and her struggle to define her worth.
On a broader canvas, “Shirt” stands out as a relatable anthem for those grappling with their identity and emotional labyrinth. Lyrically, SZA weaves a tale of emotional turmoil that is both intimate and universal. The track unveils brutal honesty about damaged promises and portrays the sobering reality of self-deception. In true SZA fashion, the song is a soul-baring exploration of love and despair, echoing the undercurrents of modern relationships and the exhausting pursuit of self-love.
20. Open Arms (feat. Travis Scott)
Dipped in the aura of introspective infatuation, there’s an intense exchange of emotions and sentiments. This track, flowing with Travis Scott’s effortless verse, speaks volumes about commitment and fidelity, touching raw nerves of insecurities and self-esteem. “Open Arms” presents the painful paradox of devoted love – the more you cling, the more you push the other away. It paints love as a struggle between self-doubt and devotion, where the comfort of presence is sometimes overshadowed by fear of abandonment. Beneath the velvety layers of melody and SZA’s arresting chorus, there’s an underlying plea to remain – to stay open and devoted despite the flaws, the uncertainties, and the difficulties. It’s a song that dwells on the fragility of love, and how the power of its endurance can sometimes surprise us all.
21. I Hate U
The lyrics ooze raw vulnerability, with SZA laying bare her conflicting feelings towards a lover who’s causing her profound distress. What makes “I Hate U” stand out is its unfiltered exploration of intimacy and conflict, coloured by an undercurrent of almost desperate longing.
Through the lyrics, SZA brings to life the cyclical pattern of love and hate, intimacy and detachment, often felt in toxic relationships. She depicts herself as being emotionally worn out, comparing the situation to a corduroy, a fabric that’s known for its durability but eventually wears out with excessive use. SZA also embodies an almost paradoxical condition where she despises her lover—yet craves their presence and intimacy.
Overall, “I Hate U” is a poignant narrative that encapsulates the labyrinthine dynamics of fraught relationships and the struggle of navigating through emotional upheavals. The dichotomy of disdain and longing adds depth to the song, offering listeners an unfiltered glimpse into the complexity of unfulfilling love and its taxing aftereffects.
22. Good Days
The song serves as an honest soliloquy, piercing into her thoughts, fears, and aspirations. She talks about the battle in her mind, grappling with emotional baggage and seeking liberation. SZA brilliantly uses metaphors and references, likening her struggle to biblical characters like Job, facing trials, and Jericho, waiting for the walls to fall.
The repeated theme of ’empty mind’ is a profound representation of her desire to escape the mental turmoil and find peace. The lyrics oscillate between self-doubt and self-belief, embodying the human quandary. While she admits feeling wasted and heavy, SZA also holds onto hope, echoing her belief in ‘good days.’ Her decision to ignore texts, forget past regrets, and stay present reinforces her intent to transcend pain and move towards healing. It’s a compelling narrative, wrapped in SZA’s poetic brilliance and raw emotions.
23. Forgiveless (feat. Ol’ Dirty Bastard)
The track melds her trademark soulful R&B style with the rough-and-tumble charisma of late rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard (ODB), who posthumously serves as the guest feature through archival audio. The lyrics unravel SZA’s toughened stance towards figures from her past – she’s ready to forgive, but never forget.
The song pulses with assertive energy, as SZA lays claim to her space and her worth. She is unfazed by any consequences and vows not to retreat in the face of opposition. The lyrics underline her hard-earned resilience and fighting spirit, reinforced by ODB’s signature swagger and wit. A repeated refrain sets a non-negotiable boundary – she might offer forgiveness, but forgetting is off the table.
With its unabashed fierceness and confrontational tone, “Forgiveless” is a compelling reminder of SZA’s journey, strength, and unbreakable resolve, while also serving as a fitting tribute to hip-hop’s eccentric genius, ODB.