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In Review: SZA’s “Saturn”

During this year’s Grammy Awards, SZA teased her new single “Saturn” with an exclusive visual and performance of the song (which aired during a commercial break) that left fans wanting more. The genre-bending artist has achieved some of the highest accolades ever in the last year since the release of her sophomore album “SOS.” Not only was she the most nominated artist at the 66th Grammy’s (and took home three gramophone trophies), but both “SOS” and her debut album, “Ctrl,”  are still topping charts! “Ctrl” has spent 350 weeks on the Billboard 200, making it the second female album to do so in history consecutively, and “SOS” is the longest-running number-one album in the history of the Billboard Top R&B Albums chart with 59 weeks total. It’s clear that SZA is a hitmaker, and this new single is just another example of her captivating artistry.


SOUND

This song sounds as if the word ‘aesthetic’ could be put into musical form. The instrumentation makes you feel as if you’re in a dream, “floating away” as SZA sings in the hook of the song. The guitar and drum tracks are subtle but still just enough to set the mood.


SZA’s vocals add to the overall feel of the track, and she captures the listeners’ attention with her unique voice. 

The smooth background vocals and adlibs also help to create this alternate universe that SZA speaks of in the song and takes the listener there. 


Both the production of the song and the vocals work together to tell the story of a woman who is tired of her reality on earth and needs to get away, but the lighthearted feel of the track helps the lyrics to be more digestible. With heavily layered background vocals and ethereal melodies, this track sounds like something you’d want to play while resting on a cloud in another universe.


LYRICS

While the song sounds beautiful, the lyrics are quite sad. This song is almost a cry for help, as SZA sings about desperately needing to escape her reality.

“Stuck in this paradigm, Don’t believe in paradise, This must be what Hell is like”, sings the Grammy-winning songstress. 


SZA goes on to say she would be better off on another planet, which suggests her reality is just that unbearable for her—or at least it feels like it.


Like most SZA songs, there could be multiple meanings to some of these lyrics. 

The lyrics in this song could be taken literally but could also be relatable because when we go through uncomfortable experiences, we feel like the world is ending. The dramatization of her words could also just be reminiscent of those exaggerated feelings.


With lyrics like “I’ll be better on Saturn, None of this matters, Dreaming of Saturn”, maybe SZA is suggesting she knows she’s being a bit dramatic.


This song also could be about getting something you thought you wanted and feeling stuck with unexpected results. Not only does she express feelings stuck throughout the song but she also sings, “Nirvana’s not as advertised, There’s got to be more, Been here before”.


There are many layers to this songwriting masterpiece to unpack, but overall it’s clear that the song conveys an internal struggle about struggling to accept the hand that you’ve been dealt, especially when it’s a bad one. SZA portrays this effortlessly. 


ART BEHIND THE SINGLE

The song is not only catchy and dreamy but touches on such a relatable topic that most people can relate to. As a songwriter, her specialty is creating songs that feel like diary entries—personal, vulnerable, yet relatable. “Saturn” is no different. “Saturn” gets a 9/10 on the Intersect Rating Scale.


Stream "Saturn" below.




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