Single of the week: Ada Lea – Damn review

by Tobias Moore

On Damn, Ada Lea highlights her skill at narrating the often overlooked elements of day to day life.

With poetic vocal wandering, and the, at points, raw intimacy and vulnerability of her voice, it makes Damn almost feel like you’re scrolling through a diary, or, at the very least their digital equivalent – late night phone notes. Yet, although this shows the song’s softer side, as it develops and spirals into its climax, Lea underlines the vast array of her talents: an ability to combine her compelling vocal power with the initial tenderness.

Much like we heard on her debut, what we say in private, the aptly named perfect world being a perfect example, Lea’s experimental manipulation of texture almost mirrors the states that our minds wander to. However, despite this theme seeming apparent in all of her songwriting, it would be incorrect to say her new work is cut entirely from the same cloth. As from the outside, Damn seems to be a track of transition. Showing a numbness, an almost removed perspective for the most part of the song, it is only as it enters its final stages that the raw chaos that Lea so brilliantly controls appears once more.  

The thing that stands out about Ada Lea is her realism. While she’s capable of showing the harsh realities that occur in the nooks and crannies of modern life, hidden within the softness of her narration lies a resilience, and an almost optimistic one at that. Despite creating music so aptly fitting for the trials and tribulations of heartbreak and self exploration, Ada Lea creates a golden haze – where time stands still and you see the dust, illuminated through the constraints of your window, pirouetting around your room. There’s a feeling with Ada Lea that life can and will pick up, but a solemn reminder that hardship is only round the corner.

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