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SZA, 'Shirt'

Solana's back, just in time for Scorpio season, and well, she's still as chaotic as ever. While "Shirt" isn't necessarily new — she first teased the song on Instagram in October 2020, producing a TikTok dance challenge that led to her fanbase naming the song — this marks its official release after a long life on the short-form platform. There's something tantalizing about an unrequited love, the kind that wraps you up totally, strips you of your dignity and leaves you obsessed: "Been so lost without you all around me ... lead me, don't look back. It's all about you," SZA sings in the first verse, over heavy subs, a boomy drum break and glitchy hi-hats produced by the one and only Darkchild with the producer/guitarist Freaky Rob. One thing SZA knows well is the destructive depths of love and how to convey its all-consuming intensity in her music.

"Shirt" is no different, only within this cloud of delusion beams a salient awareness: "Still don't know my worth / Still stressin' perfection / Let you all in my mental / Got me lookin' too desperate, damn," she sings in the chorus. The single is accompanied by a mini film directed by Dave Meyers and co-starring LaKeith Stanfield, capturing the criminal adventures of a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde. She puts it all out there — her insecurities, her flaws, her wounds. She's not afraid to be seen. At the end of the video, in typical SZA fashion, she offers a preview of a new song filled with gentle, finger-picked acoustic guitar and light strings (the internet has already named it "Blind"), perhaps soft launching her long-awaited follow-up to the era-defining CTRL.

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Ashley Pointer
Ashley Pointer is a news assistant for NPR Music.