SZA: 5 Years Later

SOS will drop at midnight. Are you excited!

SZA has recently announced that she will be dropping her second studio album, SOS, five years after her debut one, Ctrl. Although Ctrl has amassed much success, it went 3x platinum, fans were hungry for more. And while they did get singles sporadically or features on other people’s songs throughout the pandemic, an album or even EP was nowhere in sight, until now. But what was the hold up? Was it the curse of RCA Records, former home of Tinashe and current home of Normani? Or was it just SZA’s anxiety flaring up for several years? Because I didn’t even know Ctrl was actually delayed upon release as SZA’s anxiety got the better of her until her company took her hard drive away. And based on interviews she has been giving recently, it seems like something similar happened again to an extent.

The cover for SOS

I could literally burst into tears and run through this wall at any moment. I am effectively falling apart. But it’s not like, the album pressure… It’s just, life is f–king hard. To be expected to do anything at a high level while life is life-ing is f–king crazy. This isn’t meant for a person; it’s meant for a machine.

SZA on her career via Billboard

Additionally, SZA writes most of her songs. Pumping out music with the hope of it going viral on TikTok doesn’t seem to be the direction SZA is pointing at when it comes to her music. But for the music industry, music that has a quick turnover rate is the name of the game currently. Fart something out and hope that the kids on social media, TikTok especially, will make it viral and play it to death and possibly make dances to it. Reap the profits and repeat.

I hate the red tape analytics of dropping anything — it’s so stressful. I definitely have heard [the term ‘digital service provider’] more this week and last week than I have ever. I don’t like the way it sounds — it sounds stressful and like something that requires a lot of attention and maneuvering. I hate the word ‘single.’ It’s like, ‘What the f–k separates a single from other sh-t on my album that I like? Why does it have to be different?’ […] I feel like music, in this capacity [her hectic schedule prior to this album], I don’t see longevity. I like to create, I like to write, I like to sing, and I like to share. But I don’t know if chasing after superstardom or whatever I’m supposed to be doing right now is sustainable for me or for anybody.

SZA doesn’t seem too fond on the direction music is heading

If you all remember my SZA reading, she has a watery grand trine in her chart, causing her to be very creative, sure, but a bit hard to pin down. She just goes with the flow and feels out things which is not conducive to how the music industry is operating now. SZA told Billboard that she only does what she wants to do and that “makes [her] feel free and safe and unrestricted.” That perfectly encapsulates what I’m getting at.

So, today’s reading will just be about SZA’s album and not much else.

Why did it take so long for SZA to drop a second album?

20: Uranus
5: Leo
15: Mercury (reverse)
25: Air (reverse)
23: Fire (reverse)
10: Capricorn
16: Venus (reverse)
18: Jupiter (reverse)
13: Sun (bottom of the deck)

I think it’s mainly what she explained in that Billboard article. SZA is an artist who creates from the soul but because of that, her output is very sporadic and all over the place. Indeed, we start out with Uranus. Uranus is the planet of erratic behavior, things suddenly coming together or breaking apart abruptly. It is also a planet of eccentrism which greatly describes SZA not only as a public figure, but I think her personally. Yes, after Uranus we get Leo. SZA’s Sun is in her 10th house and her south lunar node in Leo. I mentioned in my article on her that I wondered if being a star was a past life dream she finally achieved in this one. There is something about SZA’s music that is authentically her but communicating this, going from first draft to final product is very slow for her. She has a lot of water in her chart and being an air ascendant doesn’t help her with that.

Water signs were considered to be mute or unable to communicate. And when SZA does talk it’s very weird. It’s like her words carry with them more weight and feeling and soul than what they are dryly conveying if that makes sense. It’s like, a lot is lost in translation when she speaks so she comes off as strange, at least to me. She is very spiritual, that is very obvious, but that spirituality doesn’t have a clear and concise medium to transmit itself to others. Many of you are probably lost but SZA is more than just vibes. There’s something deeper to her that I think many of us just don’t understand because she can’t articulate that in a way that is easy to understand.

Yes, both Mercury and Air are in reverse. SZA may struggle with taking her more spiritual, emotive, intuitive impulses from the ether to the page when it comes to her music. She may have certain feelings she gets from a beat or a lyric or a melody but then trying to construct an entire 3–5-minute song around that may be difficult for her. It doesn’t help that she continues to sing in cursive so it’s like she’s doing quantum physics in her head while she’s feeling the music and words but trying to repackage that into something everyone can consume is where she trips up at.

Yes, we also have Fire in reverse and Capricorn. SZA is slow in making music because of this sort of “woo woo” way she approaches it, or how it approaches her. In that Billboard article, SZA’s engineer and producer, Rob Bisel, said “Sometimes it feels like she has a divine antenna that funnels ideas to her. I’ll be playing her beats and for a few minutes she’ll suddenly get really quiet, and then she’ll hop up to the mic and it’s like the ideas just magically flow out of her.” And I think that perfectly describes SZA’s methods. It’s vibes, yes, but those vibes guide her to make her music so powerful and ethereal. Interestingly, however, Neptune never came out. Instead, we got both Venus and Jupiter in reverse.

With Venus, this planet shows music. To have it reversed with the Sun under it to me suggests that while SZA loves music inherently, the industry surrounding it is not something she likes, which she said in that interview. If she could just steam of conscious release what she wanted, when she wanted without all this extra pressure of deadlines and fan expectations, I think SZA would live a very content life. But SZA blew up with her unique way of singing, odd persona, and musical talent which apparently set the foundation for Alternative R&B. So, expectation and even criticism came along with her stardom—it always does. But that made her have a certain dislike for the music industry and that sort of bled into her music making. I don’t think she’ll ever hate making and performing music, but since Ctrl, it has been difficult to fully enjoy her fame.

Jupiter in reverse is interesting because it is not explicitly tied to music. It is, however, tied to enjoyment like Venus is but in a very lavish and grand way. Again, with the presence of the Sun, which anciently showed fame and your reputation, I think SZA expected her career to go a different way. I think her soul really wanted to be known and respected for its craft which I believe was music as well in a past life. But having finally gotten that notoriety, SZA’s soul is a little taken back by all the attention, actually, and how the music industry is not all fun and games, moods and vibes, like she had dreamed it would be. The music industry has rules and regulations, strict deadlines, and certain criteria you have to meet to stay relevant once you have passed a certain threshold. All of that was not anticipated and it takes SZA aback. She is like the creature in the Mercury card looking back like, “Is this truly what I wanted?”

So that is why her second studio album took so long to come out. It was the result of her sudden fame mixed with her rather slow and eccentric music production.

How will the album be received by critics, fans, and the general public?


20: Uranus
5: Leo
13: Sun (reverse)

18: Jupiter (reverse)
16: Venus (reverse)
25: Air
General Public

15: Mercury (reverse)
14: Moon
24: Water (reverse)

For the critics I think they will find the album to be unexpected. Critics tend to know what goes on in the industry more than fans, so I wonder if they have been hearing rumblings that SZA had something in the works for a while, but to finally get an album was a bit surprising. This unexpectedness can also be in reaction to the album itself. SZA may give us something new and different from her established sound and the critics may spend a lot of time dwelling on that. Not necessarily in a bad way but I see them being like “SZA’s new album is fresh” or “SZA’s new album shows us a different side of herself” and they’ll talk about her older material and compare and contrast that to SOS. To them, SZA has grown a lot in her artistry. I can even see some critics who were skeptical of her in the past or gave her the side eye conceding to the fact that SZA did something new, fresh, or different here with SOS. But is that good in terms of her catalogue? The Sun is in reverse. SZA seems to have a very particular reputation not only among fans and onlookers but with critics too. For some, SOS may not hit the mark completely. It may seem as though something is missing, or this new direction is a bit empty feeling. With her prior work, they may say SZA had soul or something uniquely her about her earlier music. But with SOS that is missing or lacking in that or in something else adjacent to that.

Fans may not like the album, surprisingly. When I was doing my singer series, I eventually went back to some of these artists’ discography and grew to like them. SZA was such a person. (Rico Nasty was the other when I did my rapper series). But when she released “Hit Different,” I felt like I couldn’t connect or vibe to her as much. I basically had to skip out on “Good Days” because while I did like it on some level, it wasn’t enough to keep me coming back. I liked “I Hate U,” but it gave me the same feeling. Then with “Shirt” I had to completely tap out because I just didn’t understand what she was saying and that killed the entire song and most of SZA’s persona for me.

For fans who eat anything she throws on the floor or presents with all her cursive flourishes, I think that won’t satisfy many this time. I don’t think it’s because they had to wait these long five years, but because the underlying philosophy or higher message to SZA’s music just hits different but in a bad way. I clarified Jupiter and got Scorpio in reverse. Yeah, the fans, or at least some of them, are a bit tired of SZA’s weirdness and her strange way of being “mysterious.” SZA is a Scorpio sun, by the way.

Like, I think some fans just wanted vibes, and cute beats and lyrics, but SZA gives them like a philosophical question that makes them think and I don’t think they want to think lol. I think with SZA they want to turn off their brains and just let the music soak in. But this album poses questions and gets all spiritual and woo woo which is not their taste. They want songs about being the side chick again á la “The Weekend.” They want pretty girl, art hoe thot anthems that are emotional, but SZA gives them deep introspection and contemplation. That’s not what they wanted. They wanted things light and airy. Speaking of, with Air out, I think despite some people not liking it, it will spark a lot of conversation, especially on Twitter I’m seeing. Just long threads about what SZA says in the album and also back and forth between fans who “get” what SZA was trying to do by being all galaxy brained and others who will just say that they didn’t like it and don’t like this fake Dr. SZA they got. So be prepared for all of that, I suppose.

I feel like the general public may not like the album either. With Mercury in reverse again, I see this as people going “Wtf was that???” The Moon in astrology represents the public but also showed gossip and rumors. I feel like the everyday folk will talk about the album, even clown it, in passing for a couple of weeks and move on. They are not emotionally invested in SZA nor this album like her fans are who I feel like will talk about and debate it amongst themselves for months on end. With Water in reverse, there is something about this album that is just vibes that everyone was expecting but in a bad way, in a different way people didn’t see coming. I don’t know. I guess SZA went too woo woo with her song choices and/or lyrics or something but across the board, the reception seems very mixed. That’s fascinating.

What will this album do for SZA’s career?

Ctrl put SZA on the map. Will SOS live up to that?

14: Moon
16: Venus (reverse)
7: Libra
2: Taurus (reverse)
1: Aries (reverse)
18: Jupiter (reverse)
22: Pluto (reverse)
25: Air (reverse)

I feel like it will have unforeseen effects on her career. Jupiter and Venus keep coming out in reverse. Both are planets that are temperate in their qualities (being moderately hot and wet and cold and wet, respectively) and are the benefics in astrology, often conferring good things in life. For SZA, this album may be the slow decline of her. Indeed, Aries is reversed here. She skyrocketed to the top but is now slowly descending back down. I feel like this is a fear of hers but because of that potential past life theory I pushed. It’s like, her greatest fear is falling off because of what had potentially happened in a past life where she wasn’t all that famous or well liked. I feel like if SZA does fall off this may trigger something within her and may cause her anxiety and/or depression to get really bad.

Yes, with the potentially lukewarm reception to the album, SZA may spiral a bit and we may have even longer stretches of time between albums and singles because she is locked up somewhere in her feelings. With only Libra upright out of Venus’s domiciles, I think something is getting rebalanced when it comes to SZA’s career. I feel like a healthy dose of reality will hit her and her fans. SZA was very lucky in her stardom but the longevity of that seems very fraught. SOS may not be a saving grace but a warning sign than a call for help. But I feel like she needed it for some reason??? Like just going on vibes alone and doing whatever won’t help her stay on top forever is what I’m getting.

With the lackluster sales or critical acclaim for SOS in comparison to Ctrl in the future perhaps, it may give SZA that wakeup call she needs when it comes to her career. And that is, her career requires hard work and more than just being off in your own world 95% of the time, and only showing up to ours for the 5% to drop like a singular single and then going back to wherever you were at. Music and being famous takes consistency and dedication. You have to constantly improve and innovate or at least deliver what people have come to expect from you every time. With Air in reverse, SZA isn’t trying to hear all that. Again, she is off in her own world but by never really engaging with this one because of anxiety or because she is more invested in her spirituality, she doesn’t know how to participate in her own career and notoriety.

I feel like SZA doesn’t completely grasp why she blew up in the first place. If she could just put out music whenever and however she would like, she would be happy but that’s just not how the industry nor fans work. Work is work regardless of if you’re a celebrity and people really like what you do. You have to show up and do what is required of you lest you get the boot and people move on to the next “It Girl.” Yeah, there’s something SZA has to balance and look further into, and I think that’s how she approaches music and how she thinks her should career operate because something is off and not compatible here. SOS may be a message to SZA and not us…

Anyway, that’s all I have for you all. Are you excited for SZA’s new album?

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Mamo, H. (2022, Nov. 16). SZA Is Finally Ready to Release That Album (Yes, Really!). Retrieved from


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