Song: Drew Barrymore
A couple of weeks ago, SZA released her debut studio album, Ctrl. The body of work is described as alternative R&B with elements of soul, hip-hop, cloud rap, witch house, and chillwave. The song I chose from the album to breakdown is “Drew Barrymore.” It is the most unique sounding to me. On this track, the neo soul songstress portrays the image of a self-abandoning, insecure woman who, at the same time, possesses the ability to overcome her vulnerabilities. Let’s get into the song.
Why is it so hard to accept the party is over? SZA leads with this line encircling a concept many of us do not come to grips with. Relationships, they end. In her song, she somberly sings over a sadish-dreamy instrumental about one that is over for her.
She rhythmically describes how her old guy shows up to the party with his new girl. The young lady is perfect, and she hates it. This section of the song is one of my favorites because it brilliantly shows SZA as a frustrated ex expressing her disdain, but over an upbeat tempo. So it’s not sad, but we can still understand there is sadness in how she feels. It’s pure creative genius.
She goes on to say more about her resentment of the chick, detailing everything she’s noticed about her that she can’t stand – like the girl’s mom jeans and new Benz. The night carries on with the group of friends watching a television series and eating and drinking, a new-age get-together setup where exes and friends can hang out. This verse ends here.
The chorus starts and repeats lines that embody two concepts. Is she good enough for her guy friend? And, is the inside of her, good enough for him. My take on this is that she is talking about her lady part below, as well as the way she is. “Is it warm enough for ya inside me, me, me, me, warm enough for ya outside baby, yeah.” To put it another way, she is asking, do you like me, do you like my sex, both or just the sex? These are questions women (or men) may have when he or she feels insecure. SZA explicitly unveils her self-consciousness in the next verse.
“I get so lonely, I forget what I’m worth.” – Damn AND whoa! This eye-opening line comes with full power. She’s honest about how she’s devalued herself and describes the solemnly-needy feeling we can have for attention when no one is there to love us. Some of us may find ourselves going to the last person we should, who we know isn’t good for us, don’t want or love us, and don’t deserve us. We decrease our worth by entertaining this type of person. SZA reaches this point, but recognizes it. The fact that she acknowledges she is at a low point in life is a good thing. When you are able to recognize a problem, you can fix it.
As the song nears its end, she sarcastically apologizes for not being the perfect girl for the guy and then lets him know that karma is coming his way. I’m sure her feelings are based on how he treated her in their relationship.
The bridge is the best part of the record. You’ll hear the piercing, yet beautifully-soft sound of SZA’s voice as she shows the thoughts of the physically and emotionally confused person she’s conveyed. The person who swings back and forth between being weak and being done with her boyfriend is questioning the legitimacy of his love. To me, this is her finding her way.
The song drops back into the chorus and ends with a beautiful outro of string instruments playing. Overall, “Drew Barrymore” shows the breadth of creative genius that went into creating a solid, one-of-a-kind project.
JustOneThing: There are plenty of people who have experienced something like this. They end up in bad relationships that take unnecessary courses of kinda-ups and fully-downs. I wanted to hear SZA sing about the woman who fully overcomes and finds her strength. Perhaps this is for another song. Check out her album to see.
Curious To Know? Does SZA find her way?