Sound the sirens and flash the lights: A new SZA album is on the way. Sure, we’ve known that for years, but now, it has a name and a release date. SZA revealed in a Billboard cover story last month that her second album would be called S.O.S. She later said that she hadn’t turned in the album and is “currently stressed” about her deadline. But after years of waiting for her follow-up to 2017’s breakout, Ctrl, the pieces finally seem to be in place for the new album. The R&B singer-songwriter dropped her long-teased TikTok hit “Shirt” a few weeks ago, then followed it with a teaser clip titled “PSA,” featuring her posing in a ring of green fire as a new song plays. On December 3, she revealed on Saturday Night Live that S.O.S. is set to drop on December 9. Oh, and she casually debuted a new song, “Blind,” during her performance.
The 23-song track list, tweeted by the singer on December 5, reveals a short list of features. Don Toliver appears on “Used,” while Travis Scott reunites with SZA in “Open Arms” after featuring in her 2017 single “Love Galore.” Phoebe Bridgers, one of the more intriguing pairings in the list, features on “Ghost in the Machine,” a song bound to break sad girls everywhere. The album’s last track, “Forgiveness,” features Wu Tang Clan’s Ol’ Dirty Bastard, who died in 2004.
Per Billboard, the songs on S.O.S are “captivating,” drawing on surf rock and grunge in parts alongside “her beloved lo-fi beats.” SZA told the magazine she was less “carefree” during S.O.S. than Ctrl. On November 30, the artist posted the album artwork for S.O.S. on Instagram, captioning it “The ocean of tears I’ve been holding onto since the last album… 😭” Next, she’s set to promote new music with a Saturday Night Live performance on December 3.
SZA has previously criticized her label, Top Dawg Entertainment, for blocking her releases. In 2020, she called TDE “hostile”; earlier this year, she said the label and its president, Punch, delayed the album from a summer release. Punch told Billboard he and SZA are on good terms and chalked the delayed music up to many factors in SZA’s life and business that kept her out of the studio, comparing it to basketball. “You may run off 15 points in a row,” he said. “It has been a lot of starting and stopping and then we finally got into that rhythm.” For her part, SZA took issue with the business focus of an album rollout in the cover story. “I don’t know if chasing after superstardom or whatever I’m supposed to be doing right now is sustainable for me or for anybody,” she said. “I’mma take a good swing at it, and I’mma give ’em my absolute best.”
This post has been updated throughout.
SZA Puts Fans on Alert, Announces New Album S.O.S
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