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SZA, 'Gone Girl'

"Gone Girl" marks SZA's loss of one version of herself to the next, or, more acutely, that uncomfortable moment pinpointing the change internally before it's apparent to the outside world. Arriving nearly halfway through the journey of SOS, the song parts a gulf the album attempts to navigate. Serving as both an inner monologue and a PSA for anyone thinking they're about to get the 2017 version of Solána, "Gone Girl" fully faces the realization that SZA isn't that person anymore. "Trying to find a deeper meaning in the nonsense / Trying to grow without hating the process," she professes with the help of earnest piano and a subtle supporting choir. "You better learn how to face that she's gone, gone girl." While the artist's 20s brought her love, loss and varied levels of strife — at times, self-inflicted — so far, her 30s are beckoning more comfort with her demons, more internal work and the realization that soul-searching is not just an odyssey, but a continuum. Smooth seas never made for a skilled sailor, anyway.

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Sidney Madden is a reporter and editor for NPR Music. As someone who always gravitated towards the artforms of music, prose and dance to communicate, Madden entered the world of music journalism as a means to authentically marry her passions and platform marginalized voices who do the same.