Album Review: “SOS”


Solana Imani Rowe, popularly known as SZA, released her long-awaited album SOS on December 9, 2022. There are 23 tracks and four features, those being Don Toliver, Phoebe Bridgers, Travis Scott, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard. SOS was the first R&B album by a female artist to spend it’s first four weeks at number one on the Billboard 200 chart this century; its first week out, it received 405 million streams, a record for an R&B album. Several media publications ranked it as one of the best albums of 2022.

SZA has stated that the album includes a little bit of every genre; it’s quite aggressive at times, but some parts are incredibly soft. It had been so long since SZA had released music that people expected a complete body of work from her, which only seemed to increase the pressure she felt. In an interview with Rolling Stone, SZA mentioned that for her to be working on an album for five years and not get bored of it, she had to begin doing completely different things at the most random times.

Eventually, SZA gotten to a point where she was anxious and wanted to get the release of SOS over with. She was so convinced no one would appreciate the album that she had a game plan to move to India, live on an ashram, take a vow of silence, and never do music again. On the day of the release, her parents were visiting to make sure SZA did not lose her mind if it went badly.

It turns out there was nothing for her to worry about, as SOS quickly became one of the most successful albums of the year. One of the most popular tracks is the lead single “Kill Bill,” which features an astonishing electric bass in the background; SZA also released an acoustic version of the song. “Low” is amazing too, talking about SZA’s desire to keep part of her life private even from her fans. “Snooze” is another one of my favorites, a slow, mellow song with soothing vocals and the sound of a drum in the background.

In her collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers, “Ghost in the Machine,” their vocals mirror each other in a way that sounds amazing. Another great track is “Open Arms,” featuring a heartfelt verse by Travis Scott where he speaks about “forever ridin’” no matter what “come between us.” It is not too clear if this is about a specific person, but he says they’re locked in for life and there’s no replacing him.

Overall, this album is amazing and the five-year wait was definitely worth it. There is no surprise that Solana Rowe did a great job, cementing her status as one of the greatest R&B/Soul artists of our time.