At the stroke of midnight on Friday, September 4, SZA was in a giving mood. “Midnight EST,” she wrote on her socials, with an accompanying photo pulled from the visual she released just an hour later, along with her first solo song since her 2017 debut album CTRL. You read that right—SZA is back to save 2020 with her newest single “Hits Different” and all is right in the world again.As the title suggests, “Hits Different” just does something to the body. Maybe it’s SZA’s shimmering, dream-like vocals singing about unrequited love (and Ty Dolla $ign’s honeyed coos bleeding seamlessly into hers). Maybe it’s her and her dancers performing on top of cars in an abandoned junk yard. Or maybe it’s all the lewks she delivered, from the full blood-splattered look to her usual tie-dye and camp shirts. “You wrong, but I can’t get along without you/ It’s a shame and I can’t blame myself, keep on lovin’ you/ You do it different,” she sings on “Hit Different,” which she self-directed.As “Hit Different” faded away, SZA snuck in a snippet of an unreleased song about getting rid of someone who she knows isn’t the best for her. “I worry that I wasted the best of me on you, baby/ You don’t care,” she sings, like a wine-drunk voicemail to a former lover. Feeling a bit more generous, SZA wrote on Instagram, “Punch gon kill me but I’m in a sharing mood,” under a video of a voice memo of her singing another unreleased song that could only mean one thing: It’s officially SZA season.
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SZA hasn’t revealed whether “Hits Different” or the other snippets are loosies or a part of a larger project, but any day SZA releases new music is a good one.
Nerisha is the assistant editor at ELLE.com, covering all things beauty and fashion.
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