Track Review: SZA “Shirt” Song

SZA has finally released “Shirt,” a song she teased at the conclusion of her “Good Days” music video. Few songs have had as many lives as “Shirt” before its debut. The song has been performed live, Doja Cat was verified to be a featured artist at one time, and it even sparked a TikTok craze while it was still known as “Bloodstain.” Nonetheless, it has arrived.

“Shirt,” written with Rodney Jerkins and Freaky Rob, finds SZA in a different place than the “Good Days” she sung about a year ago. “Shirt” finds SZA reveling in the darkness of her uncertainty and misdeeds. “Comfort in my sins and all around me / All I have right now / Feel the taste of hatred,” she sings. SZA has always been unafraid to explore the whole range of human emotions, and here she delves headlong into bitterness, where it comes from, and how it affects her brain.

Pounding beats center “Shirt” and its ambient backing voices, while reflecting the intensity of emotions during a breakup. It’s a jagged, forceful instrumental that isn’t interested in cleaning or beautifying the ugliness and complexities of grief. SZA, after all, sings that she “can’t cry about the crap she can’t change,” yet she “feels lost but she enjoys it.” SZA’s tremendous ability for catchy songs prevents the sound from becoming empty. Her vocals mimic the spacing between each drum kick, while the chorus dances to each bass stab.

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