SZA’s “Ctrl” Empowers

SZA

SZA my dear, I love your music. Even though your album has been out for some time now, I must write about it. I fell in love with your surreal sound about a year ago when Spotify introduced us. At first, I was thrown off by your ethereal aura which resonates through much of your music, but it is also what caught me. I was instantly attached when I heard “Warm Winds.” The streaming service continues to keep this love strong when they throw in your tracks from time to time on my playlist. So of course, I feel I must dedicate time to addressing my feelings towards your latest project “Ctrl.”

SZA, you are phenomenal. Weird and honest. Beautiful and loving. An emotional warrior who is true to herself and owns her self-discovery through the highs and lows of relationships. It is the combination that I see and others see, that makes you so easy to vibe to. Thank you for going against the norm and charging forward in your truth. This expression of said truth is eminent in “Ctrl.” This songstress is rated R – raw, real and relatable. Her music stands a testament to what many of us want to say, but have difficulty in finding the words.

In her track “Normal Girl,” the beat has a trance like energy that intertwines with a hip hop sound. This track resonates with me through its message. Many want their parents to be proud of them. However, it is difficult to be yourself with the weighing feeling of your parents’ approval. Now to be approved by your lover’s folks too? Ugh! It’s tough to get a break.

I can hear the passion from her croons in “Broken Clocks.” I cannot see her, but I feel it in the way she sings. “Ohhhhhhh!” Yes girl, I hear you. Her story is truth; she sings of having an overwhelming job while dealing with a chummy dude. LIFE!!!!! Hahahaha. Many of us deal with situations in which we shouldn’t entertain our energy into. But yet, nothing is ever so simple to do, because you know, “You love me.”

SZA continues in tales of self-discovery through “Pretty Little Birds.” Poor aves, they got to deal with flying into the stupid window repeatedly. And yet, they still flap their little wings and fly towards the sky. “Pretty Little Girls, Pretty Little Girls, we hit the window a few times;” in truth we are very much like these feathered creatures in how we make mistakes but are dynamic in our strength to never give up. My soul wants to twirl to this track. Heavenly and full of flight, the collection of sounds can make one want to soar.

Ms. Twenty Something herself reveals her truth about the fear of love, not being where she thinks she should be and holding onto those who matter most to her heart in “20 Something.” We stumble through these times making mistakes repeatedly trying to figure how to do this adult thing right. May she survive the stormy waves of this period; when the waves are rough they always become calm again.

Another tune about birds comes through in “Doves in the Wind.” The song is lit. The end. Oh, and clearly, we control men with our babymaker “flowers.” With bars from Kendrick Lamar describing the wonders of our wombs and the hype, the smooth sound pounce into the ears making one enamored with excitement from the track. Sit back, bob your head and chill to this feature.

SZA packs in a gutsy punch of honesty in  “Supermodel.” We all want to be a supermodel to someone. Perfect skin, hair, butt, boobs, abs, lips or whatever it is that society is telling you must be excellent in to make you a match for that person. She goes in on this track letting it all pour out on how much she needed her man and how she gave him a gift of “dirt” after he left her for someone else.

“Why I can’t stay alone just by myself, wish I was comfortable just by myself, but I need you, I need you, I need you.”

Whoever is reading this, I want you to look in the mirror, look into your eyes and say “I need you.” There is no one out there that can do more for you than yourself. You can be happy with yourself. You can have peace by yourself. Whatever you are looking for in that other person is already residing right from within. Heaven knows, I used to feel like I needed to be someone’s supermodel, but I am super in just being myself; flaws and all. Know that you are too.

More tunes from this package of sound give me life through her journey of sharing a man in “The Weekend,” not-your-average girl anthem in “Drew Barrymore,” her bubbly wild tale “Love Galore and more. SZA makes us listen and warms the hidden parts of us afraid to live in our imperfect truth. This daring dive into her attempts for control decked out in 80s sounding nostalgia and hip hop grooves allow one to feel freer in accepting their own truth. For sure, I know I do. Thank you Queen for doing what you do best and never feel afraid to lose control.

Been to the Moon by Corinne Bailey Rae

This songstress has kept away from us for far too long. Yes! I know she has her own life. But Corinne Bailey Rae’s music has always been just the right sound I needed to hear without even knowing it. I am truly pleased to hear that she’s making music again. In her latest video, “Been to the Moon,” one can see how far she’s grown musically. The sound has a celestial approach that leaps along with her sweet, soft croons. Feel the heart of this production at the chorus – her voice soulfully intertwines with the light changes of the beat. This psychedelic track is a marriage between the new and the old. Don’t let your ears meander away from it; take a listen below.

 

Musical Love Match!

Tamera-and-Jordan-slow-jam-the-heartbeat-life

Ahhhhhhh love. It’s a chased after emotion that bring out both the best and the worst in all of us. We fight, cry, scream, but also smile, laugh and take in the essence of someone who causes our hearts to beat ten times faster than normal. At times, it’s difficult to describe the wonders of what love can bring. However, there have been many different musical artists who have been able to do just that. Here on the Heartbeat Life, we have complied a short list of r&b artists who beautifully mesh together and who have made us swoon over their creative gift of capturing love into their sound.

Chris Brown and Tinashe/Sevyn Streeter: Chris Brown has had many different collabs with a variation of artists whether it be David Guetta or Tyga. However, he has also made beautiful sensual music with R&B newbies Tinashe and Sevyn Streeter that take us on a fun ride of love. In “Player,” the chemistry between Tinashe and Brown is so evident, you would fan yourself from the sizzling fire between them. But based on style, innovation and tone, Streeter and Brown also make a dynamic duo in their pop induced, rhythm and blues flavored sound.

Avant and Keke Winans: Don’t even get me started on them. Their voices together is the definition of love. Their earth shattering sound in “First Love” brings back or even creates the insistent stomach activity of butterflies fluttering around at the first signs of the most desired four letter word in the world.

Usher and Alicia Keys: Their song together will always have you thinking about your first. Cherished memories are uncovered when listening to “My Boo.” One can’t help but reach out their hand and have it drenched in the wake of warmth from that person who started it all.

Tamia and Fabulous: Though Fabulous is a rapper, this combo just gives one the feels. Every time it comes on and Tamia starts -“I think you’re truly something special. Just what my dreams are really made of. Let’s stay together you and me boy. There’s no one like you around,” it makes me want to melt into the floor from just how “fabulous” this tune truly is.

Usher and Monica – OMG!!! Do you remember that episode of “https://www.youtube.com/embed/r9WxDQSnAcU“>Sister, Sister”? Yes!!! Let’s take it back. This track “Slow Jam” is a classic which will stay imprinted in the our hearts in how much of  a sweet musical masterpiece it is.

There are many more like R.L. and Deborah Cox or Justin Timberlake and Beyonce that leave an imprint in our brains for how these artists intertwine their incredible voices to make magic. Over the last few years, the art form has made its transitions. However, we will never forget the tunes that reminded us of what love feels like.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!  Hope you are all spending it with those you love or by spending time loving you.

 

 

Sunday Sessions – RKHTY

The energy of the 90s is so embraced within the realms of “Sunday Sessions” that it makes me shiver. Goosebumps from the flashbacks of dudes walking down the block with boomboxes come alive through just the first listen. That as well as chills from the relaxed vibe of self expression and an exhilaration from the strong message of how wonderful it was back then to just be who you are. Let me exhale for a moment – this collection of sound is almost too dope for words. But let me try to put it in some anyway. RKHTY greatly incorporates the cool of this era. Her flow makes you feel like it’s 96′ all over again. Laugh and groove to the singles as if you are in the room with her when your ears take in the skits. Out of the seven lovelies from this group, my top picks are definitely “True Love” and “Friday Night” – jamming grooves that evoke a bubbly nostalgia of choice memories. Head to the spot and just kick it with this nice little slice of heaven.

 

Forever Mine by Andra Day

Andra Day has a commitment to the flawless beauty of the 50s. Whether it be through her light croons crying out to a lover or through the epic awesomeness of her do, this lady is on a wicked cruiser to class on her track “Forever Mine.” Sway to this sweet lullaby of a tune – it makes this one want to vaporize into a cotton candy puff of cool and breezy. Check it out below.

 

 

 

Here by Alessia Cara

Thank you! Finally a song that gets me. Seriously though, for all the girls (or even guys) who aren’t so socially bubbly. The specimens who recoil at parties and cringe a bit at the idea of being wildly open with others. For the humans out there who huddle into a corner quietly bobbing to the music while filled with anxiety about being around a bunch of strangers, feeling invisible and having the urge to feel at least a little mental intimacy with another at a shindig, this song is for you. “Here” from Alessia Cara is a testament to the socially awkward or what I like to call a “shy butterfly.” Her cool vocals truthfully belt out the sheer experience of partying without “the party” thriving from inside one’s spirit. It’s easy to accept and to relate to her tale of being one among many in a thirst driven zone for a good time. Check out this dope record below and remember that regardless of where you are or who you’re with, you are most definitely an important component to the energy around you.

No Sleeep by Janet Jackson feat J. Cole

Seriously though, Janet Jackson is the Queen of making sultry, foot stepping grooves to get the soul ignited. “No Sleeep” is a 21st century version of “That’s the Way Love Goes” or any hit of hers that made us swoon during the 90s. The quick bumps of sound meshes well with her famous light, feathery octaves to produce a lovely concoction of mellow tunes. “No Sleeep” oozes of an ultimate chill factor perfect for the end of a great day. J. Cole’s lyrical munchies of knowledge is also a choice “dessert to her meal.” Tonight or whenever you can, make sure to get “No Sleeep” into your system. Enjoy below!