The best albums of 2017, No 3: SZA – Ctrl

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This nakedly honest debut album, told defiantly from a female point of view, signalled an artist in complete ctrl

‘Let me tell you a secret,” sings 27-year-old Solána Imani Rowe on the opening track of her debut album Ctrl, and she delivers on that promise over the next 14 tracks. Her very next line is: “I been secretly banging your homeboy” – and there’s plenty more where that came from.

Honesty is often seen as the holy grail in pop, but when it’s served up as nakedly and directly as it was on Ctrl, it can stop you in your tracks. Was Rowe fessing up to revenge sex on Supermodel? Were her body image issues really being laid out for all to see on Garden (Say It Like Dat)? Should we really know that she’s been sharing her man with two other women (Weekend)? The home truths came at such a steady pace you wouldn’t have been surprised if SZA had thrown in a verse about taking a plastic bag at the self-checkout without paying the 5p charge.

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Music | The Guardian

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