Ctrl definitely became top five albums to listen to whenever I’m going through a breakup. When going through a breakup, I just want to feel like I’m not the only one and want to be able to listen to music and sing my feelings out. When I’m listening and singing to Ctrl, I feel just that. I feel seen. I remember my first-ever heartbreak, listening to the album all summer long, specifically “Supermodel,” and screaming, “I’m writing this letter to let you know I’m really leaving and no, I’m not keeping your shit!” —Alondra Vidal Díaz, activist.
After finding a partner about halfway into undergrad, I hear the album in a completely different perspective. I’ve been with him for four years now, and we have such a healthy, supporting, and loving relationship. When I listen to the album today—and I still do pretty often—I don’t feel as sad, lonely, or worthless. I more so feel happy that I don’t relate to all of the sadder songs on Ctrl, but I relate to more of the romantic, ethereal songs now. —M.K.B
On what they want to come next
I would love an “I’m healed and don’t need men to make me better anymore” album, but I trust SZA, so I’m not worried about that. — Ayesha K., @FallingCTRL on Twitter
I’m not going to lie—I’m a Z stan, and I’d love to hear another album that sonically reminds me of Z. The storytelling within Ctrl was incomparable to what I love about Z, so it’s unfair to compare the two, but tracks like “Julia,” “Babylon,” and “HiiiJack” have remained gems on her discography for nearly 10 years. I’d love to see her work with Kaytranada for a funky house track or another song with James Blake. Who knows? Maybe this summer we’ll be gifted with another Calvin Harris collab on Funk Wav Bounces Vol.2! —Noella Williams, music and culture journalist, 23
Honestly, with her, I’m just happy she’s making music. I have not heard single song that’s been bad, and she’s released about 40 or 50 at this point. She’s an amazing writer. She’s a great singer. I just know she’s gonna knock it out of the park. I just hope she doesn’t get too nervous and doesn’t release it. —Pablo the Don, music journalist and critic
On the meaning of their favorite song
Personally, I feel as if I’ve felt every feeling imaginable while listening to this album. Truly an emotional roller coaster, as I’ve felt sadness, happiness, anger, calmness, and even sexual desire. A song on the album that will always stick with me is “Prom.” SZA sings, “Fearing not growing up, keeping me up at night,” and “Promise to get a little better as I get older.” Growing up with social anxiety, these lyrics have always stuck with me. I too fear and always reflect on my insecurities of not growing up quick enough or even waiting too long before I come to peace with myself. This song was love at first listen for me, and I am always grateful for SZA and this song for getting me through so much. —Antonio R., high school student and @sessionctr on Twitter, 17