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CTRL Image
Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 15 Critics What's this?

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8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 391 Ratings

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  • Summary: The debut full-length release for the New Jersey alternative R&B artist features guest appearances from James Fauntleroy, Kendrick Lamar, Isaiah Rashad, and Travis Scott.
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Top Track

Love Galore
I need, I need I need, I need I need, I need I need, I need I need, I need Love, love, love, love 'long as we got Love, love, love 'long as we... See the rest of the song lyrics
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 15
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 15
  3. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Jun 16, 2017
    91
    Ctrl is as tough as Damn is tender, and it knocks as hard as The Sun’s Tirade swoons.
  2. Jun 13, 2017
    90
    SZA is the full package in terms of artistry: killer singing and songwriting abilities with a distinct perspective on life, love and destiny. CTRL is craft in action, a uniquely excellent album from a uniquely excellent artist.
  3. Dec 14, 2017
    90
    In Ctrl, SZA draws on her personal experience and explores women’s sexuality in a direct and honest way which was so far mostly reserved to male R&B and pop artists.
  4. Jun 28, 2017
    80
    Featuring savage and often heartfelt, diary-like ruminations, CTRL pushes against the borders of convention lyrically and sonically, placing it on the upper echelons of potential ‘Best Of ’17’ lists.
  5. Jul 19, 2017
    80
    Ctrl is a languid, cavernously soulful debut that is never anything but assured--a collection of delicious jams that are equal parts fragile, cozy and piercing.
  6. Jul 19, 2017
    80
    Placed beside only Z, its three-year-old prelude, Ctrl is the work of a considerably less-inhibited songwriter. Rowe likewise truly fronts these frank songs that wield power as they lament lonesomeness, insecurity, and inertia.
  7. Jun 13, 2017
    78
    What’s remarkable about it is that she has spun her personal experiences into a soulful, touching R&B record with broad appeal beyond her particular demographic.

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 41
  2. Negative: 1 out of 41
  1. Jun 13, 2017
    10
    Talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before,Talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before, unafraid to reference or not reference, put it in a blender, **** on it, vomit on it, eat it, give birth to it. Expand
  2. Mar 27, 2019
    10
    When SZA was working on her debut album, I was really looking forward to her album. I'm glad it was worth the wait because SZA's Ctrl is aWhen SZA was working on her debut album, I was really looking forward to her album. I'm glad it was worth the wait because SZA's Ctrl is a fantastic album from start to finish. Loved all the songs from the album, and SZA's Lyrics are amazing. And the features on the album are fantastic. SZA's Ctrl is a must listen. 10/10 Expand
  3. Aug 20, 2017
    10
    Minina esse álbum é muito top topssimo topperson topper muito top, top top top eu poderia falar muita coisa sobre ele, mas acho que falar queMinina esse álbum é muito top topssimo topperson topper muito top, top top top eu poderia falar muita coisa sobre ele, mas acho que falar que ele é top é o suficiente top mesmo top Expand
  4. Oct 2, 2018
    10
    One of the best R&B albums of the decade. Excited to hear more of her work in the future.
  5. Jul 20, 2017
    9
    This album is GENIUS. There's such a mix of genres in just one song and it's beautifully done. The album starts with "Supermodel" a chill butThis album is GENIUS. There's such a mix of genres in just one song and it's beautifully done. The album starts with "Supermodel" a chill but raw ballad with some great lyrics you should listen to. Then we get to the next songs with a different rhythm each one of them and a feeling of smoothness and calm. This album is incredibly underrated and so f*cking good. I need to see more hype for this. Expand
  6. Mar 12, 2018
    9
    What a wonderful debut album.

    It's somewhat hard to fathom how someone can start singing at age 22 and four years later this happens. The
    What a wonderful debut album.

    It's somewhat hard to fathom how someone can start singing at age 22 and four years later this happens. The melodies and phrasing on this album are not at all amateurish; on the contrary, they seem incredibly nuanced and considered. All the more surprising that these songs are all off the top, according to the artist. To quote Drake, the kid's a natural. These 14 tracks present a distinct style, that of a fully-formed artist--certain flows and rhythms, intervals that she hits to accent certain phrasing, a distinct accent, and a vocal timbre that is immediately recognizable. It's hard to imagine anyone else singing her songs, or anyone else coming up with the melodies and phrasing she finds on this album. So much so that when I listen to Consideration--that Rihanna song, written by SZA, that was meant as the centerpiece to this album but was appropriated after she played it for Ri and Pharrell--it sounds like Ri is hopelessly trying to emulate the younger artist (listening to that song breaks my heart... I really want to hear SZA on that verse and Sounwave tear up the instrumental). The only other songwriters I can think of that have such distinctive phrasing and vocal quirks are Lauryn Hill and Frank Ocean.

    The instrumentals are really excellent. It seems with every TDE project they further refine a certain house style. I was surprised to see Sounwave absent from this project, as it has all the hallmarks of a TDE project: the instrumentals are soulful, have plenty of room to breathe, and the instrumentation is quirky and inventive. The synths glisten and have an organic feel to them that is soooo refreshing in today's scene. The sampling is understated and barely recognizable as sampling. The groove and bop on these tracks is one of the best in the game (Wavy Interlude is a standout in this regard). Even the songs that have a pop groove (Prom, Drew Barrymore) hit hard and have an effortless bounce.

    The lyrics are probably the least-striking part of this project, but they are capable nonetheless. The themes are quite standard, covering heartache, inadequacy, all the hallmarks of the post-Drake RnB/pop sound. My favorite piece of writing on this album is the closer track, 20 Something. In a musical culture that seems to increasingly lionize youth and wild abandon, it's refreshing to hear someone consider what comes next. Doves in the Wind and The Weekend are also standouts, and somewhat intimidating to listen to as a man. They present a perspective that I haven't quite heard articulated before. All of the writing on this album, even when touching on more well-trod themes, has a contemporaneous honesty and a realism befitting SZA's creative process that is immediately endearing.

    You couldn't ask for a better debut album than this. Definitely one of the best albums of the year, and an album that I think will go down as one of the more cohesive, stylish, and impactful records of the late 2010s.
    Expand
  7. Jun 23, 2017
    0
    SZA releases yet another mediocre album that will get ridden to death by TDE stans who for some reason can't be assed to post in the Kenny sxnSZA releases yet another mediocre album that will get ridden to death by TDE stans who for some reason can't be assed to post in the Kenny sxn of KTT, instead spamming Music with their trash opinions. If she was signed to another label, like young money, she would be bashed for being the uninspired and bland artist she is. Instead, because she's signed to the trendy "indie" label with Kendrick Lamar we pretend she's something special. :jordanlaff: Expand

See all 41 User Reviews

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