CTRL: SZA Has A Musical Epiphany

SZA amongst computers for the cover of her album, CTRL
CTRL album cover

In an album of self-discovery, SZA preaches on the themes of body image and insecurity, femininity, and love. This album is heavy on questioning the societal norms that are placed upon women. The necessity to remain perfect at all times, being complacent or submissive in toxic relationships, and remaining sexually monogamous are all questioned in this come-to-earth album by SZA.

The primordial struggle of being a woman is the strife SZA explores in CTRL. Upon advice from her mother and grandmother throughout the album, she is encouraged to seize control of her life — to put matters into her own hands. The necessity of making your story your own is vital, especially as a woman.

Body Image Issues

Body image is an insecurity referenced throughout CTRL. In her eyes, SZA is inferior compared to the other women her love interests seek. She isn’t pretty enough, her body isn’t shapely enough (obviously not true). To counter this, she feels she has to be incessantly complemented and capture a constant stream of attention. This overcompensation is what ultimately strains the relationship.

This is highlighted in the first song of the album, “Supermodel”. This song is about the infidelity of her lover in Las Vegas on Valentine's Day. As a result, she seeks vengeance and cheats back. SZA is too insecure and needs too much attention for this to be acceptable behavior. Despite being unable to see it herself, she believes that her lover looks long enough, she can be his supermodel — the image of perfection. This is the curse of body image issues; no matter how truly beautiful you are, it’s hard to actually believe that based on what society says you should look like.