SZA’s long-awaited debut album Ctrl was one of the most critically praised projects of last year, earning the New Jersey singer five Grammy nominations and placement on many year-end lists. However, she has repeatedly said that she wasn’t nearly as confident in the project while putting it together.
In a new interview with Faderundefined, she took it one step further by expressing confusion about why Ctrl was so successful at all. “I didn’t even fuck with my own album, so I was so confused and almost, like, angry that everyone fucked with it so much,” she told the magazine. “It meant everything I felt about myself was wrong. And it was just like, If that’s not the truth, then what is the truth?”
According to her, the multi-year recording process for the album left her confused about its message. “I just made a gang of songs over the course of four years. Heard ‘em all together and I was like, ‘Huh, alright',“ she said. “I think when ‘Love Galore’ went platinum, Donald [Glover] texted me like, ‘Do you still think it sucks?’ And I was like, ‘I dunno.’”
SZA has previously noted that the Ctrl recording process was often confusing and unpleasant for her. On top of publicly threatening to quit music, she explained to The Guardianundefinedundefined last July that her label eventually took her hard drive away from her due to indecisiveness. “I just kept fucking everything up. I just kept moving shit around. I was choosing from 150, 200 songs, so I’m just like, who knows what’s good any more?” she said at the time.
During her Faderundefinedundefined interview, she expressed a similar sentiment about her Solange-directed video for “The Weekend,” which received some unfavorable reviews for hewing far closer to the younger Knowles sister’s visual aesthetic than SZA’s own. “I was upset at first, cause I was like, ‘Ugh this is my character. How can people think this about me?'” she said, but later noted that the song itself didn’t mean as much to her as it did to her fans. “I cared so little about that song. I made that song in two seconds. That was like a throwaway, and then it was like, 'What about that ‘Weekend’ thing?'”
Although “The Weekend” is the highest-charting song off the album, peaking at No. 29, she has long highlighted the fact that it was not intended to be a single:
Either way, the album has clearly struck a nerve with listeners. It earned five Grammy nominations (although she didn’t end up winning) and went Gold last year. According to SZA, she plans to get in the studio before her label-wide tour starts later this year. Fans will be waiting to see what she comes up with next.
Check out the full interview here and read all the lyrics to SZA’s Ctrlundefined on Genius now.