Sweet sounds of sickened love

Album cover of “Z” by SZA, (2014, Top Dawg Entertainment)

Music nowadays usually follows a very familiar trend—first verse, chorus, second verse, chorus again, and finish. It’s simple, yet effective. Few songs seem to deviate from the standard routine, but if done effectively, the outcome results in something special.

“Warm Winds,” by SZA featuring Isaiah Rashad, is one of those special cases.

“Warm Winds” describes how breakups can be handled in not one, but two ways. You can either walk away or allow yourself to be pulled back to their side.

     The song’s first half follows a slow worn-out beat with vocals and synthetic instrumental that could best be described as tired and conflicted as SZA talks about how her partner consistently lets her down. She desperately wants her partner to “show her a better way,” but that hope is fading fast. One can feel how annoyed SZA is by the situation by the way the instrumentals seem to trod on in a repetitive, yet effective pattern.

“Show me a better way, I wish you could, show me a better way.”


     The second part of the song rolls in when she finally stops pleading for change. The song cuts out and is soon followed by a hollow wind. The key and instrumentals change to a somber tone that could be best described as a rainy, lonely night. The words “Dear God, make me a bird so I can fly far, far, away” are repeated softly. SZA begins to sing again, this time a different song with Rashad backing her up.

SZA performing at the AfroPunk festival in Brooklyn, New York in 2015

She sings of “Lonely thoughts on Thursday nights” and having to leave someone but being haunted by their soul. The tone change in this song is what makes it amazing. She finally decides to move away from her partner and even though it hurts she knows it was the best course of action.

Warm Winds Audio, SZA, (2014, Top Dawg Entertainment)