“Shirt” by SZA

SZA’s “Shirt” is a song which, at certain points, reads as if it is going in a number of different directions at once. 

Verse 1

The first verse leading into the pre-chorus is obviously romantic, with SZA expressing her willingness to be with the addressee despite the fact that there are some types of moral misgivings she has in terms of their relationship. Or as the singer puts it, she ‘likes it’ and finds ‘comfort in her sins’.

Chorus

The chorus itself indicates that said misgivings, at least in part, may have something to do with the both of them respectively having other lovers. And as far as how the titular phrase, “bloodstain on my shirt”, is used in context, it seems to imply that SZA may have beaten up her sweetheart’s other girlfriend. 

By the time the passage concludes, the vocalist is also putting forth an idea like maybe she played herself by falling in love with this guy to begin with.

Verse 2

Meanwhile, the second verse leaves something to be desired in terms of overall understandability. But one way of making sense out of it is by presuming that the first half of this passage still finds the narrator lamenting over having fallen for this guy. The latter part, on the other hand, speaks to a notion like stage fright or something akin to SZA not always being in the proper mood, if you will, to have the spotlight shining on her. 

Bridge

Then, the bridge turns the lyrical attention more squarely back onto her relationship with the addressee. 

Now it is clearly implied that for the most part this song is intended to focus on the idea of the vocalist having been smitten by a less-than-ideal partner, i.e. someone she doesn’t fully trust and who also seems to have his own misgivings in terms of giving her his all.

The Long and Short of “Shirt”

So even though this piece does seemingly go off on a tangent or two, perhaps it isn’t as disjointed as noted at the beginning of this post. There is definitely a storyline present throughout most of the track which centers on the vocalist’s relationship with some guy. 

But in terms of what’s being put forth in that regard, there’s a whole lot going on here. But we can perhaps conclude by saying that what it all is meant to speak to is the complexity of modern romances from SZA’s perspective, such as other parties being involved as well acknowledging that she is deriving pleasure from the union, even though she obviously has doubts about its validity.

lyrics for SZA's "Shirt"

Release of “Shirt”

“Shirt”, which Top Dawg Entertainment in conjunction with RCA did finally get around to releasing on 28 October 2022, is a song that fans had known about for a while, in that its first teasing dates back two years prior, to October of 2020. 

In between that time and its eventual issuance, the tune went viral on TikTok in the form of a dance challenge. In fact it was via said challenge that the song went on to be dubbed “Shirt” (with this track also being known as “Bloodstain”). 

And it also appeared, in the form of a teaser, on the music video to SZA’s “Good Days“, a visual that came out in early 2021.

Although her discography dates back to 2012 and she is currently considered one of the top R&B singers in the game, SZA has only dropped one studio album to date, that being 2017’s “Ctrl”. 

So what is being speculated is that Shirt may be the lead single from her long-anticipated sophomore LP, though such rumors have not been confirmed as of this writing.

Credits

The music video to this track was helmed by award-winning director Dave Meyers, and it co-stars LaKeith Stanfield, who most recently was featured in the Wild West film The Harder They Fall (2021). 

Said clip has been described by SZA as containing “gruesome content”, apparently in lieu of the celebration of Halloween.

This track was produced by Freaky Rob alongside Rodney Jerkins, the latter being a notable turn-of-the-century musician also known as Darkchild.  Additionally, the two of them co-wrote “Shirt” with SZA.

Shirt

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