March 20, 2017

Paley Martin is in for the deep cuts.

There’s something both torturous and indulgent about having someone on your mind. Everything else—mentally, at least—seems secondary, just a brief pause from our otherwise endless ruminations. Romance is complicated, and yet it so often becomes the focal point of our lives. Despite the the tragedies and traumas of the world, our attention tends to drift back to our lovers—the ones we’ve had, the ones we want, and all those in between.

Whether we’re willing to admit it or not, love, like, and lust are a pivotal part of our existence. And why not? We’re human. We need each other to give us a pulse and, if all goes wrong, a good story to tell. Desire is layered, but its sentiment is simple: everyone wants someone. And 10 months ago, so did SZA. On “twoAM,” a track released on her Soundcloud last May, the TDE-signed singer put her own spin on PARTYNEXTDOOR and Drake’s “Come and See Me.”

“It’s two AM again and I’m thinking about you,” she sings. Halfway between melancholic and sensual, SZA sounds far too used to the feeling. The vocals are layered as her thoughts of lust and logic wrestle with one another. She melts back into memories of her lover as she contemplates reaching out: “It’s two AM again and I’m thinking, should I come through…can I come kick [it] with you?” Soon enough, she’s remembering what’s never felt right, what’s likely to always be missing when it comes to him. “Got to move on, ‘cause you’ve got me fucked up,” she sings. “I am confused. From this point on, trust nobody else…Please cut me loose.”

I discovered this song a few weeks ago and have yet to stop pressing repeat. It’s SZA’s slow, stream-of-consciousness delivery that makes the track so powerful—the relatable unraveling of thoughts that bounce from desire to disappointment in one fell swoop…and then do it all over again. She knows he’s not good for her and yet she’s still “stuck up thinking about” him, hoping he’d be the one to cut it off so that she could move on.

On “twoAM,” SZA goes through it while we listen and sympathize. We’ve been there or maybe we’re going through it too. Either way, the song is just as addictive as the ones we’ve tried to but can’t quite get out of our heads.

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