From the moment SZA released her debut album, CTRL, in 2017, she gave us the perfect soundtrack to all our thoughts. These feelings could range from wondering why a guy with a girlfriend is hitting you up like in “Love Galore” to proclaiming you never lose when with your lover like in “Snooze.” In her follow-up album released in 2022, SOS opens up about her anger and regret. The Grammy-award-winning singer pens her personal life throughout her music, slowly revealing it to us like diary entries. SZA’s songwriting introduces the world to memories of men doing her wrong, the rage that follows and even insecurities about herself. She brings to life the exact range of emotions that come with these experiences.
Whether you’re in love, or falling out of it, SZA has a song for all of the ways in which relationships can get the best of your emotions. For those nights when you need to vent and have a glass of wine, here are 12 SZA songs to listen to.
1. Supermodel: “Leave me lonely for prettier women/ You know I need too much attention for s**t like that/ You know you wrong for s**t like that.”
We all have insecurities when it comes to how we look. SZA explains that she deserves attention from her lover — even if she believes he could find someone better looking. These insecurities are often brought up in other SZA tracks throughout her discography, oftentimes conveying how invisible she can feel.
2. Nobody Gets Me: “Nobody gets me like you / How am I supposed to let you go? / Only like myself when I’m with you.”
This is a song to play when you can’t leave someone alone. SZA knows the feeling of getting attached to someone and not being okay with yourself once they are gone. She also explores being misunderstood and finding a home with someone who understands.
3. Drew Barrymore: “I get so lonely I forget what I’m worth / We get so lonely we pretend that this works / I’m so ashamed of myself, think I need therapy.”
When we find ourselves alone, we sometimes let our negative thoughts take us down. SZA describes what it can be like when you get in your head with no one around. She also includes feeling lonely in a relationship, and admits that the fear of being alone can be a reason to pretend that your relationship works. The song’s namesake, actress and TV host Drew Barrymore, often talks about her struggles with mental health and shares it with her audience like SZA.
4. Seek & Destroy: “Now that I’ve ruined everything, I cannot complain / Now that I’ve ruined everything, I’m so f**kin’ free / Now that I’ve ruined everything, keep it all for me / Now that I’ve ruined everything, space is all I need.”
In her second studio album, SZA touches on the subject of self-sabotage and the consequences behind related actions. Instead of feeling guilty, she feels free after sabotaging her connections. Whether it’s considering harming an ex in “Kill Bill” or admitting to getting a rise when a former lover falls, SZA finds liberation in the destruction.
5. Garden (Say It Like Dat): “‘Cause I love you just how you are/ Hope you never find out who I really am / ‘Cause you’ll never love me … but I / Believe you when you say it like that.”
If there’s one thing that you can assume about SZA through her lyrics, it’s that she enjoys being in love. This song evokes the feeling of wanting to hide some parts of yourself in fear of losing someone. Sometimes a good relationship can be too good to be true, which is enough to make you feel like you have to refrain from showing the real you. It is clear in this track that the person in this song offers some reassurance, allowing SZA to believe what the person is saying despite her inner saboteur.
6. Snooze: “Long as you dreamin’ ’bout me, ain’t no problem / I don’t got nobody, just with you right now / Tell the truth, I look better under you.”
Feeling possessive is normal when you are in love. SZA wants to make sure she is the only one her person thinks about in bed when they are apart. She emphasizes being closed off to anyone else besides her lover and admits she looks better when she’s under them.
7. Gone Girl: “Tryna find deeper meanin’ in nonsense / Tryna grow without hating the process / Tired of anticipating the worst yet / Still anticipating the worst.”
This song is all about being honest with yourself. Sometimes it can be hard when you’re on a journey of growth. SZA definitely realizes that growing is not a comfortable process in these lyrics. As she tries to find meaning behind the madness in life, the fear of what’s to come hinders her progress. The singer gets real about how finding yourself may not always be the answer.
8. F2F: “So hard without you / I feel it coming, you gon’ find anothеr one / To keep you calm and tuck you in at night, I wonder / Will you call me? Will you hang mе out to dry?”
This song from SOS finds SZA at the precipice of getting over a break-up. It’s an all-too-relatable feeling: Waiting for the ball to drop and finding out your ex has a new flame. Yet, SZA is still wondering if they will ever call. She keeps the listener in their feelings with this song and pulls at their heartstrings by describing how hard it is to forget someone.
9. Special: “I wish I was special / I gave all my special / Away to a loser / Now I’m just a loser.”
Dating means having to kiss a few frogs on the way to your prince or princess. SZA touches on insecurities on this track, as she does in many others, explaining how she craves being special to someone. However, she blames her feeling of inadequacy on a loser she dated. She digs even lower to admit she also feels like a loser for having dated them.
10. Love Galore: “Why you bother me when you know you don’t want me?/ Why you bother me when you know you got a woman?/ Why you hit me when you know you know better?”
Many women have experienced partnered-up men trying to get at them. SZA knows it’s annoying. These lyrics seem to be a text reply that make the person on the other end feel sorry for even trying. The star points out the blatant truth about this person having a woman, while also shaming them for knowing better than to reach out to her for anything romantic.
1 1. Far: “Tried to wash all of my s**t away/ Tried to wash all my emotions/ Need a few brews, need a palm tree/ I be drinkin’ in private, don’t call me to party, though.”
SZA touches on the woes of drinking your cares away in this song. She explains the task of attempting to drown her sorrows in alcohol or getting away to somewhere with palm trees. Nevertheless, the star’s efforts clearly don’t work as she writes that she prefers to miss parties and drink in private.
12. Good Days: “I try to keep from losin’ the rest of me / I worry that I wasted the best of me on you, babe / You don’t care.”
SZA loves to use a peaceful production with deep, melancholic lyrics, and this song is a perfect example. While the song sounds like a dreamscape, the lyrics explain looking toward better days while having the slight anxiety of losing yourself in the process. SZA fears that she lost the best of herself while in a previous relationship.