[Review] SZA’s “SOS” explores the journey of heartbreak

Sayee Deshmukh

Musician SZA released her long awaited sophomore album SOS on December 9, 2022 on all streaming devices. The album consists of a whopping 23 songs, and follows the story of the emotion’s that one may face whilst going through a breakup with a significant other.

The album was a massive success, as can be explained by SZA’s immense popularity and the ever-long anticipation of fans for new music. SOS spent 6 consecutive weeks at #1 Billboard 200, selling over 100,000 physical copies. The album was also crowned the longest running #1 female released album in 2022.

SZA’s debut album Ctrl was released all the way back in 2017, however, many of the theme and motifs found in Ctrl can also be found in SOS, that being of self-discovery, heartbreak and feelings of idiosyncrasy within social settings. Notably, in songs such as “Ghost in the Machine” and “Nobody Gets Me”, these feelings of feeling like an outcast can be best observed.

The album follows the roller-coaster of emotions that one can go through whilst dealing with a breakup. It is evident through listening to the album in chronological order that SOS first deals with the pain and sheer anger that one may feel, which then delves into the sadness and eventually, self-actualization and recovery from such negative emotions. As the album consists of 23 songs, SZA is able to successfully explore all of these emotions, and the album itself is both cohesive yet sonically different.

Unsurprisingly, the standout track from the album is “Kill Bill”, in which SZA sings how exactly she may or may not hypothetically plan out the murder of her ex-lover and his new partner. The song’s unabashed lyricism detailing these horrific activities juxtaposing the seemingly lighthearted tone of the song may possibly play into why the song has become massively popular. SZA then released the music for “Kill Bill” on January 10, 2023, and later an acoustic version of the songs on January 24, 2023.

Moreover, SZA’s SOS is a great return for the musician, both in terms of financial and creative success. The album, having released in early December, was still able to come out as one of the largest albums of 2022. SZA’s lyricism, vocal technique and musicality stand out in this album, and truly, it is a great project for both SZA’s core fan-base, as well as anyone who may be going through a heartbreak, or any event that comes with strong emotion.