It’s kind of amazing how You can just use Dembow beat pattern and recontextualize it outside of its dancehall/Reggaeton roots and achieve something that works its way from familiarity to interesting new turfs. The pattern has been around since probably the late 80s, yet ZADA’s ‘Snakes and Ladders’ demonstrates that the simple structure is evergreen in the right hands.
‘Snakes and Ladders’ is very danceable by design, in fact, it’s the main focus of the music video, which is shot with a very hypnotic slant in mind, where all of the attention is dead set on elevating and accentuating the movements as if the dance that ZADA and her backers are doing is the true protagonist. The song’s ludic title refers to the ever-present theme of “The game of Love”, where seduction and romance can be seen as a field of competition where both actors are competing for a price, or perhaps are “playing” each other.
Of S&L, ZADA writes: “The whole time we wrote this song, I just wanted to dance; it was hard to sit still. If love was a board game, then the main character in this song would be very crafty and realize that they don’t need their lover to breathe anymore – in fact, it’s time to break the cycle!”
ZADA is also Fresh off the release of “Be Somebody Else”, a very different and much more introspective song revealing the breadth of sounds and moods that ZADA can so easily work with. This Cathartic track instead works with those brief escapist fantasies in which we may dream to be someone else, if not out of envy for what we perceive their lives to be like, then to get away from ourselves and our situations for just a moment.“This was definitely one of the harder songs for me to write;” Said ZADA of this track.” I tried to be as raw as possible and peel back a few walls. I wanted to cast a light on some of the feelings I’ve had over the years, the moments of self-doubt, and the yearning for change.” she leaves off with.
These two very contrasting but also complementary releases serve to illustrate ZADA’s songwriting bite. Her cinematic, baroque, and stripped-down sound could not work without that incredible narrative voice in her songwriting, I think that this is the challenge she’s committing herself to every time she sets out to do a song full of intrigue and mystique, and guess what: She keeps hitting the mark every time.