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Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Weekly Music Review Spotlight: “Saturn” by SZA

SZA’s voyage to Saturn marks the beginning of the rollout for her highly anticipated album, “LANA.”
“Saturn,” SZA, Cover Courtesy of Apple Music
“Saturn,” SZA, Cover Courtesy of Apple Music

During the Grammys on Feb. 4, Grammy award-winner and singer-songwriter SZA debuted an exclusive live performance of her new single “Saturn” as an ad for Mastercard.

What surprised non-SZA listeners, but came as a commodity to her fans, was the delay in putting the single on streaming services immediately after.

SZA began her career as simply an act of pleasure, making various mixtapes such as “See SZA Run,” and “S.” The release of these projects allowed her to garner attention from Top Dawg Entertainment, a record label that worked with artists such as Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, and Isaiah Rashad. The singer eventually released CTRL which has spent 350 weeks on the Billboard 200 chart and is home to tracks such as “The Weekend,” and “Broken Clocks.” Five years later, with the release of her sophomore album SOS, SZA continued to redefine the boundaries of R&B music, releasing hit songs “Kill Bill,” and “Snooze,” peaking at #1, and #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. 

“Saturn,” is one of the many songs intended for the deluxe version of “SOS” which dropped in December of 2022. SOS, a signal of distress defined by Morse code is the title given to this album, representing its core themes of toxicity, as well as of finding oneself after a breakup. For many, SOS represented self-reflection, but also anger; anger for the frustrations of a failing relationship, and also of losing one’s sense of worth.

I don’t want righteousness; I hurt too much, I lost too much, I lost too much,” SZA shares in Blind, a track that explores toxicity in a relationship, whether through stating that she needs to move on, or explaining her dependency on it. With tracks like these, SZA displays her humanistic tendencies, conveying how although staying in a destructive relationship is not what is best for her stability, it is what she wants, an experience that can be seen as relatable for many.

In many ways, SOS can be seen as a progression of SZA’s first album, CTRL, an album that is now deemed a classic among many. Like SOS, CTRL shares that sense of serene chaos; exploring the topic of growing up as well as of femininity.

SOS stands out from CTRL due to its’ lean into rap with tracks like “Forgiveless,” featuring a sample from Ol’ Dirty Bastard, an ode to 90’s hip-hop, allowing SZA to shine as a uniquely multi-faceted artist.

On the track “20 Something,” SZA sings, “Twenty something, All alone still, not a phone in my name; Ain’t got nothin’, runnin’ from love, only know fear,” with an acoustic guitar in the background, she expresses the anxiety and pain that comes with growing up and all of the different feelings, fears, and experiences that come with that.

Following the release of SOS, the singer announced that the deluxe would drop shortly after, almost two years later, there still needs to be an official release date. Later, in December last year, SZA announced that the deluxe would no longer be a part of SOS, rather being released as its album titled “LANA”, a tribute to her given name, Solana.

Saturn serves as the first single for this upcoming project, marking the start of the rollout for LANA. 

Saturn stands as a testament to SZA’s ability to express her human tendencies, only in this track the singer conveys the existential feeling of being otherworldly; of feeling dissatisfied with where one is at in life. “I’ll be better on Saturn; None of this matters; Dreaming of Saturn,” she sings followed by an almost heavenly melody. 

Saturn closely resembles tracks off of CTRL, with that lush and angelic R&B flow paired with her traditional coming-of-age lyrics, SZA showcases her brilliantly alternative take on R&B. Many fans have gone to X, formerly known as Twitter, to express that Saturn is reminiscent of tracks such as Snooze and Good Days, both featured on SOS.

With production from SZA’s resident producer Carter Lang, who she also worked alongside for 8 out of the 14 tracks on CTRL, including “Broken Clocks,” and “Love Galore.” Love Galore’s cover art inspired Saturn’s, allowing Saturn to remain an ode to CTRL in a variety of ways.

Saturn’s release stands out, not only as a trivial point in SZA’s career but also as an homage to the singer’s debut album and her relatable lyrics, reminding the world that after all, she is just human. The single currently stands at #15 on the Top Global Chart for Spotify and #4 on the Top U.S. Chart and is expected to land on the Billboard Hot 100 by next week. 

Gabriela Quintero is a staff writer for the University Press. For more information on this story or others, contact her at [email protected].

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