SZA releases second studio album “SOS”


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

“SZA Season” officially began when the R&B superstar dropped her second studio album, “SOS,” on December 9, 2022. 

The album took the top spot on the Billboard 200 on December 24, and her song “Kill Bill” debuted at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it SZA’s highest charting song. 

“I believe that ‘Kill Bill’ is a good song,” said senior Gretchen Bush. “SZA is expressing her grievances about her past relationship, and I think that’s what really made the song blowup. I don’t necessarily believe that it’s her best song, but it is definitely something that a lot of people can relate to.” 

“Kill Bill,” which was heavily influenced by the Tarantino film, describes SZA’s vengeance on her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend. Throughout the song, the singer’s thoughts, and eventually actions, parallel those of Beatrix Kiddo, the main protagonist of the “Kill Bill” movies. 

It becomes apparent in the first few tracks on the album that listeners of “SOS” are obtaining a perception into SZA’s journey of self discovery after her failed relationship. As the album progresses, she seems to gain more confidence in songs such as “Smoking on my Ex Pack,” an ode to being self-sufficient and moving on. 

“SZA’s confidence and curative mindset throughout the album is inspiring, especially to people who have gone through similar situations,” said senior Anna Campbell. 

However, as many people can attest to, healing isn’t always linear, and SZA demonstrates this throughout “SOS.” For example, “Smoking on my Ex Pack,” one of the more sanguine songs on the album, directly juxtaposes its successor, “Ghost in the Machine,” which is a detailing of SZA’s search for emotional salvation in all of the wrong places. 

“Ghost in the Machine” features indie rock musician Phoebe Bridgers, who’s somber ballads shot her into the spotlight. SZA’s collaboration with Bridgers was highly anticipated from both artists’ fan bases, as both of the singers tend to invoke a lot of emotions from listeners. 

“‘Ghost in the Machine’ is one of my favorite Phoebe collabs,” said senior Ryan Hill. “She has such a specific sound that it’s almost like the song has to be catered to her, and I think SZA accomplished this. They worked really well together, even though they are different genres.”

In addition to her collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers, SZA teamed up with Travis Scott, Don Toliver, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard, a late member of the Wu-Tang Clan, to create “SOS.” However, in an interview and her YouTube documentary, “SOS: Where The Hell Have You Been?,” SZA revealed that she was considering more collabs.  

One scene of the documentary depicts a white board with potential features including Billie Eilish, Harry Styles, Frank Ocean, and around ten others. In an interview with Hot 97, SZA revealed that some artists didn’t turn in their verses, but she did not disclose who. 

“I wish that we got to hear from some of the other possible featured artists. I think the theme of heartbreak and healing that SZA’s conveying could have really been hammered home by someone like Frank Ocean or Olivia Rodrigo. On the other hand, I think all of the features on the album were great,” said junior Keira Moran.