SZA Performs New Album at Washington Concert

Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter SZA began her “SOS” tour after the release of her second studio album of the same name. The artist’s fifth stop on tour was Washington’s Capital One Arena on Feb. 27, a concert that many Sidwell students attended.

The R&B singer’s latest album, released on Dec. 9, follows her 2017 debut studio album “CTRL.” Its 23 tracks showcase SZA’s diverse musical range, from the rap-sounding “Smoking on my Ex Pack,” to “Love Language” and “Ghost in the Machine,” which are much more low-tempo. The album features Don Toliver, Phoebe Bridgers, Travis Scott and Ol’ Dirty Bastard, yet again exemplifying the wide range of genres the album encompasses.

“SOS,” meaning “Save Our Souls,” reflects many of the themes in SZA’s discography.

Though SZA has grown and changed since her first album release, she still grapples with her emotions around love and heartbreak in “SOS.”

“Kill Bill,” the album’s lead single, has been trending on the Billboard Hot 100 for 15 weeks. This pop hit describes killing an ex as well as his new girlfriend. The accompanying music video, depicting SZA formulating a plan and then murdering a former lover, has garnered roughly 50 million views on YouTube.

Though SZA was the night’s main attraction, her opener also had a strong stage presence. Omar Apollo, an American singer-songwriter, performed a 40-minute setlist, singing songs such as “Evergreen (You Didn’t Deserve Me At All)” and “3 Boys.”

“The anticipation in the stadium was palpable,” freshman Eyob Sisay said, describing the opening of the concert. SZA’s silhouette appeared, sitting on a diving board depicted on the album cover.

Throughout the show, the nautical theme continued. While SZA mainly stayed on the stage, she performed part of the show toward the end on a boat floating over the audience. The arena’s lights gave an illusion of the boat floating on water, entrancing the crowd as she sang “Special,” “Nobody Gets Me” and “Gone Girl.” These songs share a unifying theme of complex emotions toward past relationships.

While SZA played mostly tracks from her latest album, she included fan favorites from previous releases.

“My favorite song off the setlist was ‘The Weekend’ because it’s from her first album, ‘CTRL,’ so it brought back a lot of earlier memories and nostalgic feelings to close the night,” freshman Angela Ding said.

SZA’s concert showcased her dedication to her craft and her stage presence. Her ability to engage the whole audience regardless of how close they were to the stage made the concert an unforgettable experience for many.