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Released: 2022

Label: Top Dawg Entertainment/RCA Records

Featuring: Don Toliver, Phoebe Bridgers, Travis Scott, “Ol Dirty Bastard”

One of pop music’s most electric voices, SZA (Solána Imani Rowe) continues to lay down tracks that pack a punch with her soulful feel and raw lyricism. Born in the early ’90s, she’s become a voice of a generation, unafraid to explore deep emotional undercurrents and provide an authentic, relatable view of the world. Her work on the album ‘SOS’ is no exception, featuring a medley of songs that take us on a journey through love, heartache, self-discovery, and resilience.

SZA, known for her atmospheric alt-R&B sound and poignant lyrics, has crafted a masterpiece with ‘SOS’. Collaborations with talents like Don Toliver, Phoebe Bridgers, Travis Scott and Ol’ Dirty Bastard add layers to SZA’s potent blend of vulnerability and strength. Standout tracks such as “Love Language,” “I Hate U,” and “Good Days” are just a few examples of the dimensionality and depth of this record. There’s a dichotomous blend of sultry and melancholic tones, a promising haunting familiarity that is quintessentially SZA.

So let’s get into it. From “SOS” to “Forgiveless,” here are the Delving into the Lyrics on ‘SOS’ album by ‘SZA’.

1 SOS

The lyrics are rife with strong statements, a testament to her ability to express raw emotion through her craft. The line “This ain’t no warning shot ‘Case all you hoes forgot” perfectly encapsulates the single-minded determination SZA embodies in her return to the music scene. The song swings like a pendulum between vulnerability and power, painting an intimate portrait of an artist who’s been through the wringer but refuses to let anything knock her down. In the end, SZA’s ‘SOS’ isn’t just calling for help—it’s a declaration of her dogged persistence, as she insists not only on her return but on getting back what she believes to be rightfully hers.

2 Kill Bill

The lyrics are shaped by caustic wit, echoed in lines like, “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 / If I can’t have you, no one should.” The rawness in SZA’s confessions hits a nerve, steering us through a labyrinth of love, grief, and obsession that’s as unsettling as it is riveting. The lyrical triumph, however, lies in the unsettling undercurrent: in witnessing the blurred lines between love and possession that can lead down a path of self-destruction. “Kill Bill” shatters the silence about unhealthy emotional attachment, ensuring listeners are as much a part of the singer’s catharsis as she is.

3 Seek & Destroy

There’s a raw and honest undercurrent to this track where she exposes the challenging aspect of dealing with emotional toll and heartbreak. The lyrics, “You push me past my own capacity, boy / Permission to crash, collecting damages, boy” effectively capture this sentiment. She portrays the cycle of destroying what you love, only to create anew space for one’s own healing. It’s a complex narrative about pushing boundaries to the point of disaster, then finding a cathartic release in that chaos. This song serves as a therapeutic confession — it’s the art of losing oneself to find liberation.

4 Low

The lyrics surge with an intense energy that highlights the duality of SZA’s persona—flamboyantly assertive yet demanding privacy. A power-packed line that rings out is, “If you see me out in public, you don’t know me, keep it silent.” It’s a defiant statement of self-preservation and individuality that plays out against a backdrop of frenetic energy. This song reveals SZA’s prowess in crafting lyrics that peel back layers of her own life while leaving listeners contemplating their own struggles with intrusion and the importance of maintaining their personal locus of control.

5 Love Language

She demands better communication, expressed in raw emotions and vulnerability, from her lover who hides behind lies and half-truths. Ultimately, the lyrics reflect an unusual mix of self-awareness and masochistic longing, proving without a doubt that love’s dialect can be confusing and heartbreaking, yet irresistibly magnetic — it’s a language that SZA continues to grapple with but articulates so well for all of us.

6 Blind

The song, bathed in SZA’s signature fluid harmonies, serves a gut-wrenching insight into her struggle with self-worth, her toxic relationships, and the vicious cycle of seeking validation causing an emotional blindness. The verse ‘My past can’t escape me / My pussy precedes me / My, my, how the times change / You still talking ’bout babies / And I’m still taking a plan B’ hits hard, underscoring her struggles with maintaining control in her relationships, her identity, and her reproductive autonomy. Yet, it’s the sense of self-awareness that sets “Blind” apart, marking a stark departure from the themes of nubile innocence SZA previously explored. Ultimately, “Blind” is a soul-baring confession, a poignant testament to SZA’s evolving musicianship and lyrical prowess.

7 Used

Features: Don Toliver

Don Toliver)” sees SZA and Don Toliver exploring the concept of emotional and relational exploitation through hauntingly raw and self-reflective lyrics. The line “Yes, I been used to being used like this” sets the tone, illustrating SZA’s familiarity with being treated as expendable in relationships. With a sorrowful transparency, the song dives into the gritty reality of being emotionally spent within a bond, combined with a clear longing for authentic connection. Don Toliver’s input further enhances this narrative, and together, they weave a tale of love, loss, and the bitter remnants that blossom from unfulfilled commitments. It’s an affirmation of SZA’s maturity as a lyricist, adeptly crafting a sonic confessional that resonates with universal experiences.

8 Snooze

The lyrics portray vivid images of vulnerability, dependency, and raw emotion, revealing the stark contrast between being “with” versus being “without” in a romantic relationship. It is a poignant illustration of how a significant other can simultaneously be a necessity, a crutch, and a reliable source of comfort. One hard-hitting verse that sticks out, “How you threatening to leave and I’m the main one crying?”, exposes the inner turmoil and fear of abandonment that is often cloaked behind the façade of a seemingly unshakeable relationship. Through her exploration of the complexities of love and loss, SZA provides an evocative commentary on the human condition, showcasing her lyrical prowess and unflinching honesty.

9 Notice Me

The smooth, languid beat sets a seductive backdrop for her confessional lyricism, as she exposes inner thoughts and complex emotions. The pleasive chorus, “And I still wonder if you notice me,” hits hard, echoing a universal yearning for recognition and appreciation. Yet, the real gut-punch comes with the defiant and self-affirming lyric, “I don’t wanna be your girlfriend, I’m just tryna be your person.” Here, SZA dismantles the normative pressures to define romantic interests within the confines of traditional labels. In essence, this song is an exploration of the raw human need for connection, but on one’s own terms. It’s a bold testament to SZA’s brand of unapologetic openness and strength, and a pivotal moment in ‘SOS’.

10 Gone Girl

The recurring line, “I need more space and security,” serves as a powerful declaration of her need for peace and stability against the chaos that swirls around her. The lyrical discourse navigates through themes of self-discovery and the strenuous process of growth, gripping listeners with lines like “Tryna grow without hating the process.” There’s a palpable sense of loss and longing, embodied in the haunting refrain “She’s gone, gone girl,” suggesting a self that is lost or fundamentally altered. The song captures the bitter realities of emotional upheaval and mental turmoil, underscoring SZA’s remarkable talent for emotional storytelling through her lyrics.

11 Smoking on my Ex Pack

The lyrics are a testament to SZA’s audacious character, evoking resilience and self-assuredness as she navigates the highs and lows of her romantic life. She throws down the gauntlet with lines like, “Them accusations weak / Them accusations true / You hatin’ from nosebleeds, (you can trust in me) I wish you well / Smokin’ on my ex pack tonight”, peppering in her trademark sass and biting humor. It’s a cathartic anthem, channeling heartbreak into empowerment, using the metaphor of “smoking on my ex pack” as an audacious declaration of moving on – unapologetic and undeterred. This song sees SZA leaning deep into her self-worth, a narrative she has consistently pushed throughout her ‘SOS’ album.

12 Ghost in the Machine

Features: Phoebe Bridgers

It’s a poignant exploration of emotional desolation, fading humanity, and personal crises fueled by an increasingly digitized world. Layering anguished lyrics over a moody soundscape, this track captures a zeitgeist where intimacy is often just a charade, and happiness feels elusive. Standout verse, “Everybody wanna be beautiful, scared of the unusual / Scared of giving mutual respect, all that you hate / You reflect all the godlike, you forget how to love somebody / I hate everybody, I hate everyone,” underscores the fiercely introspective theme. This lyric flawlessly lays bare the societal paradox of craving acceptance and connection while wrestling with self-loathing and contempt for others. This song is a testament to SZA’s and Bridgers’ lyrical genius and their ability to voice the unnerving realities of contemporary life.

13 F2F

The lyrics are a brutal confession of how she copes with missing someone, resorting to meaningless sex as an attempt to fill the void. A line that particularly resonates is “I hate me enough for the two of us / Hate that I can’t let go of you enough, this why / I fuck him ’cause I miss you”. It’s a hard-hitting confession of self-loathing and emotional chaos. SZA’s unfiltered honesty about her struggles with love and loss adds a sense of relatability. The repeated refrain “I fuck him ’cause I miss you” underscores the cyclical nature of her emotional state, amplifying the song’s emotional impact. Every listen to “F2F” is like peeling back another layer on the complexities of SZA’s personal battles, making it a profound reflection on hurt, love, and loneliness.

14 Nobody Gets Me

She lays out her inner feelings, insecurities, and the complexities of relationships in a stark and powerful way. These lyrics take us on a roller-coaster of emotions, from intense love to heartbreak, underpinned by raw vulnerability. A standout line that hits home is, “If I’m real, I deserve less. If I was you, I wouldn’t take me back.” Here, SZA grapples with self-worth, reflective of the struggles many face in relationships. Be it a lost love, a futile love, or the longing for past love, “Nobody Gets Me” encapsulates these emotions perfectly. The song echoes the sentiment of feeling uniquely understood by one person, adding a layer of melancholy to the narrative of the album.

15 Conceited

The lyrics paint a picture of self-assured independence and a rugged refusal to be defined by societal pressures or the opinions of others. SZA doesn’t mince words or hide her confidence, as she lays bare her blithe disregard for naysayers and her pride in her achievements. The line “I just heard your opinion, I could’ve did without it” encapsulates the song’s overarching message of self-reliance and dismissive attitude towards negative voices. The repeated declaration “I got no reason to depend on you”, serves as a powerful reminder of SZA’s commitment to self-sufficiency and emotional autonomy. With its no-holds-barred lyrics and hard-hitting delivery, “Conceited” solidifies SZA’s standing as a vocal advocate for self-love and empowerment in the face of criticism.

16 Special

She kicks conformity to the curb with brutal honesty, pouring out her insecurities and the toxic effects of an unloving relationship. The line “I gave all my special away to a loser, now I’m just a loser” is a punch in the gut, spotlighting the painful loss of identity and self-worth in trying to please someone else. The poignant chorus, where she yearns to be “special,” signifies the desire for affirmation and love that was missed in the relationship. The lyrical narrative in “Special” is raw and real, reminding us that SZA is a brilliant navigator of pop’s emotional landscapes.

17 Too Late

The lyrics bear the weight of introspection, questioning the possibilities and limitations of a relationship that seems destined for combustion. “Moving so close, we combust / Is it bad that I want more?” she croons, shining a light on the throbbing heartache of an intense love story. With each verse, we’re drawn further into the labyrinth of her emotions, as she distinctly navigates the crossroads of her desires and fears. In an especially gut-punching moment amidst the candid outpouring, SZA confesses, “Every time you break my heart, it feels new / every time I fall apart, I call you.” She captures the cyclical nature of longing and heartbreak, putting into words the tumultuous tides of love that can leave us feeling both adrift and anchored at the same time.

18 Far

The lyrics swing like a pendulum between independence and self-discovery, with lines like “Far, far, like I don’t recognize me/Far, far ’cause I let you define me” that hit like a sucker punch. She grapples with the ghosts of toxic relationships, underscoring the lingering impact they have on self-perception. Yet, in her journey to navigate this minefield of broken trust and self-doubt, she also articulates a powerful manifesto of self-love: “Done being used, done playing stupid/Done being cool.” “Far” encapsulates the struggle of shedding external definitions and labels, offering a candid exploration of the raw messiness of personal growth in the face of rejection.

19 Shirt

The heavy themes of self-worth, failed relationships, and regret form the core of this track, painting a stark picture of the pressure to achieve perfection and the black cloud of self-doubt. Lyrics such as “blood stain on my shirt, new bitch on my nerves, old nigga got curved, going back on my word” and “still don’t know my worth, still stressing perfection” smack hard, revealing a vulnerability that permeates throughout. SZA masterfully threads these loftier themes through the song, evoking a deep sense of identification with listeners navigating their own paths and insecurities. Moreover, her unwavering candidness offers a glimpse into the mental struggles that often accompany failed love, further reinforcing her reputation as a fiercely candid lyricist.

20 Open Arms

Features: Travis Scott

Travis Scott)” is a pop ballad unwinding SZA’s emotional struggles with relationships and self-esteem. The lyrics exhibit the artist at her rawest, freely exploring feelings of insecurity and desperation to be loved. She sings, “Spent your life being hopeless, Chokin’ on insecurity. I know all this is bad,” revealing a darker side of romantic entanglements, and the toll these emotions can take on self-worth. Travis Scott drops in, reinforcing this sentiment of devotion and turmoil, his verse mirroring SZA’s yearning, as he raps, “You my favorite color, now you seein’ every shade of me.” Overall, “Open Arms” eloquently conveys the dichotomy of love’s intoxicating allure and debilitating sting through clever lyricism and emotive performances.

21 I Hate U

She rides the beat with a raw vulnerability, lamenting on failed expectations and conflicting feelings. Her lyrics capture a wavering sentiment between frustration and affection, “Shitty of you to make me feel just like this / What I would do to make you feel just like this.” It’s not just a recounting of personal disillusionment, it’s a testament to the universal love paradox – the more we care, the more it hurts. What stands out is SZA’s lyricism, treading the thin line between loathing and longing. The title, “I Hate U” isn’t an expulsion of animosity, but rather a profound expression of love’s bitter-sweet complexities – encapsulating the twisted threads of a love that remains, even when it shouldn’t.

22 Good Days

The lyrics are a raw expose of her personal journey, navigating through self-reflection, heartbreak, and the pursuit of emotional wellness. SZA beautifully expands upon anxieties and struggles, serving as a reminder that even in our darkest moments, there’s always a glimmer of hope, embodied in the line, “Still wanna try, still believe in good days, always”. The way she masterfully switches between layers of despair and optimism makes this track a standout. But above everything, the song taps into the universal human experience of wrestling with our inner demons while still holding on to hope. This isn’t just about SZA’s personal journey, it’s about all of us striving for those elusive ‘Good Days’.

23 Forgiveless

Features: “Ol Dirty Bastard”

Echoing the stark contrast between forgiveness and forgetfulness, SZA’s lyrics voice an unyielding stance on holding her ground. In the midst of heavy hip-hop beats and an undeniable old-school flavor, she masterfully explores issues of trust, betrayal, and the unbroken journey of self-discovery. With references to competitive threats and confronting adversaries, SZA lays down strong statements such as “I don’t mind competition, it is what it is / You don’t mind second fiddle, that’s why you a bitch,” showcasing her unapologetic spirit and grit. Moreover, ODB’s verses pay homage to an old school hip-hop vibe and serve as a testament to old-school East & West Coast rivalry, breathing life into the song. This track underscores SZA’s polarity, where she can be both gracious yet unforgetting, echoing the album’s central theme of navigating life’s counterpoints without compromise.

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