Music is doing its job when it makes you feel like you can actually sit with your angst. With her new single "Wicked Ways," the DMV R&B singer Saba Abraha crafts a rich aesthetic from the feeling of uncertainty. "Wicked Ways" describes the point — in life, in relationships — when things stop coming as easily as they used to.
"Under bridges of what's to come..." she starts, smooth and easygoing. When the drums kick in, they're booming, joined by a marimba-like sound that winds through the track. "Rolling stones up hills / Losing touch / With our simple way," Abraha continues. To me, at 23 years old, the song feels like an anthem for my age. It's about striving, and realizing that self-definition doesn't always come naturally.
But the song isn't all about angst — there's also triumph here. The song "is a reminder to stay true to ourselves and keep faith," she tells NPR, highlighting a specific lyric: "We got a lot to learn with our heads on right / Mama would be proud we aiming for something better, for now."
Abraha's unique voice as a writer shines on this track. Her choice of lyrics is vivid and idiosyncratic; she speaks in metaphors, sometimes getting lushly detailed in their construction. "Our wings tucked in as the moss tickles our feathers; we got a long way to go to fly."
"Wicked Ways" is an promising, impressive follow-up to Abraha's debut EP, How Things Fly. A full-length followup is currently underway.