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Ctrl (Deluxe): Review


Grammy award-winning SZA released a surprise deluxe version of her album Ctrl with 7 additional tracks in 2017, but they didn’t get the recognition they deserved. These new songs continue the themes of body image and insecurity, femininity, and love that are present in the original album. Ctrl (Deluxe) was released exactly five years after her debut studio album and while it is considered a re-release, it shows SZA’s growth from where she started on the original album. The exclusive seven tracks include Love Galore (Alt Version), 2AM, Miles, Percolator, Tread Carefully, Awkward, and Jodie. SZA also concluded that these tracks were recorded between 5-8 years ago. When listening to this album Parental Advisory is recommended. 


Love Galore (Alt Version)

The first bonus track, Love Galore (Alt Version) swaps out Travis Scott’s verse—which represents the male outlook on the track—for an additional SZA verse, where she focuses on her state of being.  In an interview with The Fader, SZA divulged that she wrote this song off of a personal experience. She later states that the song is based on a situation where she mistakenly fell in love with someone who was emotionally unavailable. The lyrics imply that the person had a confusing personal life and that SZA did not fit in where she wanted to. With this song, SZA conveys the message that you need to focus on yourself more than you focus on someone who doesn’t know what’s going on with themself.



The song quickly returns to the Ctrl that’s known and loved with the track “2AM” which uses the chorus from PARTNEXTDOOR’s “Come and See Me.”. This track goes into talks about the awful hookup culture like it was in previous tracks such as “The Weekend” and “Drew Barrymore”, but now she doesn’t settle for the little validation she was given. 2AM highlights the gaps in SZA’s understanding of what is modern day love.



After the track “2AM”, SZA goes on to talk about the struggle of growing up and maturing while dealing with many fears, insecurities, and self-doubt with the track “Miles”. The opening verse reveals that SZA has become self aware and has worked on herself. However, she still feels as if she doesn’t fit in with society’s standards. Lyrics like, “



 Afterward, the album switches over to a low, borderline melancholic, instrumental track titled “Percolator”. On this track, SZA goes into depth on exchanges she’s made with one of her “partners”: details about their relationship and how she reflected after they split apart. The imagery of a percolator suggests a need for transformation as a person. However, it could also imply pressure and tension like water in a percolator. Overall this track is a commentary on the challenges faced with balancing personal boundaries and desire for genuine connection with somebody.


Tread Carefully 

“Tread Carefully” explains a complex and complicated relationship where SZA is unsure about pursuing a specific romantic interest. The phrase “tread carefully” is a warning to her and her partner to proceed cautiously in their love for each other. SZA also expresses a desire for this person, but she is also fighting her emotions because she is still scared to get too close to this person. SZA then goes on to talk about how she is constantly haunted by this person’s presence and she is struggling to maintain herself in this relationship. Then again, she can’t get enough of this person.



The title of this song refers to the tension between two people who have become more than “just friends” in the friendship.  With these lyrics SZA implies that in the relationship the other person they both wanted different things in that relationship. Their wants ended up damaging the relationship they had together.



When it comes to the track “Jodie” SZA has not stated any personal information about the track. Many people can infer that the song is based on her personal experience and emotions. SZA lyrically speaks on being the other woman. She captures the conflicting emotions and the pain of loving someone who is already committed to a relationship. The song gives off the themes of vulnerability, desire and love, like on her other tracks “Love Galore” “The Weekend” and so forth. 

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