It seems a cardinal sin that neo-soul singer Deena Ade isn’t already on your playlists. The British Nigerian Deena has been quietly racking up a retinue of songs with shoe-gaze inspired lyrics saturated with unrequited longing, jazzed up with tribal influenced instrumentation. Her catalog is familiar but original, literally heartbreak you can jive to. She has been very busy this year, putting out two singles, January’s “Diggin’ Me”, and last month’s “I don’t”, and now a third, “I Miss You”
When I wrote I Miss You, I wanted to highlight the emotions I experience towards my ex after I’ve been out drinking. I miss you, but I miss you even more when I’m drunk.
Post-bender introspection is always a great way to explore emotions in music, and artists like Drake have elevated the form, so it really isn’t surprising to see Deena Ade take it on, using a rambling confessional style as a way to let us into her head. She slurs through the verse, exaggerating her vowels, emphasizing her desire, constantly tempered with regret. But the music isn’t always slow and languid, after the first verse, the song’s dream pop synths are shaken up by a decidedly afrobeats drum loop. This is the point where dance provides clarity, for her, and for us. She is more urgent in response to frenetic beats, we have no choice to follow, to dance away our need, our longing, our abandonment.
There are many women in “I Miss You” and Deena Ade embodies them all, she is crazy, sexy, cool, she is you.
Listen to “I Miss You” here.