The stunning video is directed by Solange Knowles, who somehow makes it feel like an extended version, or part two, of "Cranes in the Sky." The songstress dances and moves amongst stunning concrete backdrops, with a clear vision cut out for one of the most promising songs on the Grammy award-nominated and widely critically acclaimed album CTRL. There is a lonely, yet still powerful in it's solitary, feeling to the way the camera hones in on SZA alone - one can say it mirrors the same feeling found in the record, that as NPR's Ann Powers puts it, mirrors "the reality of a woman — a multifaceted, evolving being who makes mistakes and constantly recalibrates as she determines how to be herself — confronting the omnipresence of masculine power as an everyday reality that still won't defeat her."
The music video hasn't come without it's criticism, though. Many music critics have deemed it "boring" and "safe", like Very Smart Brothas. "I know it's slightly blasphemous to say anything negative about Solange, but girl, stop. For a song that LITERALLY lends itself to a storyline video that could have been a great internet moment (for the right reasons), this shit is a total dud. It's boring. It's uninspired. It's basically "Cranes in the Sky" except without the feeling of "Oh shit, we got a Solange video for the best song on her album that totally surprised us all, so let's just look at Solange be awesome for a video," wrote Panama Jackson. Welp.
Not that it matters, because CTRL. is one of the most successful albums of the year and for black women in, well, ever - it's been nominated for four Grammy awards (five if you count SZA's "Best New Artist" nom), certified gold for selling over 500,000 copies, and debuted number three on the US Billboard top 200. It's been dubbed album of the year from just about every music blog (including us!). For an album that very nearly wasn't released, SZA should be proud of the work of art she's created, as well as all the visuals that have come along with it.
With that said, the songstress still finds herself in disbelief that people have reacted so openly to her record. "I wasn't expecting people were going to show a … lot of attention," she told the LA Times in a revealing interview. "Every moment, I'm shocked. It's taught me a lesson on energy and expectation. The biggest songs on the album — 'Love Galore,' 'The Weekend,' 'Supermodel,' 'Broken Clocks' — are the easiest songs I've ever made. Just free-flowing energy, and not me resisting." And as for what comes next? "I worry so much. Like, 'Damn, how can I be excellent?' But it's a journey," she said. "I have to decide what's excellent to me. Because I'm so stressed out, I have so many words. The next album is going to be the best I ever made in my life."
Vanessa is a music and culture writer. Follow her on twitter.
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