Saba Abraha's Marimba-Filled 'Wicked Ways' Is An Anthem To Uncertainty Music is doing its job when it makes you feel like you can actually sit with your angst.
NPR logo Songs We Love: Saba Abraha, 'Wicked Ways'

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Songs We Love: Saba Abraha, 'Wicked Ways'

Saba Abraha. Marlon Williams/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Marlon Williams/Courtesy of the artist

Saba Abraha.

Marlon Williams/Courtesy of the artist

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.