Vixen Review: ‘Z’ Is An Otherworldly Venture Into SZA’s Psyche

Vixen

Sza

Z is a project is steeped in nostalgia. Memories – either trying to recollect them or sever from them altogether – are at its nucleus, with thoughts of escape, self-awareness and quests for answers orbiting elsewhere. “Memories keep playing back, all the nights we used to love/Just wondering how we used to was, how we used to was,” she sings woozily on “Child’s Play.”

She shape shifts over the 10 tracks, standing amongst the ruins in the moody and distant “Babylon,” leading a haunting choir of spirits in “Green Mile,” performing jazz cafe style in “Sweet November” and toeing the line between surrealism and seduction in the heaving “U R.”

Most importantly, despite circling critiques that her vocal prowess needs further development, SZA holds her own when in good company. Guest spots from Kendrick Lamar, Chance The Rapper and Isaiah Rashad don’t cast shadows over her solos. They merely provide a couple tactile voices on the EP.

In person, SZA may appear withdrawn, timid even, peeking out from beneath the brim of her TDE cap. But on Z she is a confident songstress with a lot to get off her chest, roping you into her otherworld one hovering note at a time.

–Stacy-Ann Ellis (@stassi_x)