By Jack Mitchell
After informational blackouts, false release dates, and even a short-lived retirement, SZA released her major-label debut Ctrl on June 9, 2017.
Kendrick Lamar said it best—Ctrl is a “masterpiece.” Still, despite universal acclaim, headlining a nationwide tour, and seeing her songs covered by Khalid and remixed by dvsn, SZA expressed frustration with Ctrl’s final product during a recent interview with the LA Times.
“[The album] was probably way better like a year and a half ago,” she said. “I sat on it too long and … [messed] it up. I didn’t make a 10 out of 10 album, and I knew I didn’t when I dropped, but I didn’t have any more time to go back in on it.”
We think too much—the problems of a twenty-something. Bathed in blue, SZA’s indecision is something we all know and love. Her dissatisfaction—stemming from the task of letting go and whittling 200+ recorded songs into Ctrl’s final 14-song tracklist—is understandable.
What if TDE repurposed untitled unmastered and turned it into an in-house legacy album series, establishing an avenue to release b-sides for public consumption?
It’s like an expensive dinner. Sure, the wait was long and the appetizers are, um, appetizing, but when you find yourself stomach-full after scarfing down the sizzling main-course—who among us wouldn’t still order dessert?
SZA’s untitled unmastered II would be the low-stakes treat we could get behind.
200+ SZA songs sit on a hard-drive somewhere. Choosing to release a short compilation of songs that only just missed Ctrl’s cut could quell appetites of eager SZA fans, capitalize on her current momentum, and slingshot her into Ctrl’s full-length follow-up. Most importantly, however, it would offer SZA some solace and personal redemption, closing this chapter of her life and career.
Kendrick Lamar's untitled unmastered worked due to the incredible number of songs that didn't make the final tracklist of To Pimp a Butterfly. As SZA now stands in the fresh footprints left by her labelmate just a year ago, why not release untitled unmastered II?