“Who wins these little wars? Who are you fighting for?”
When Eliza Shaddad posted a link for this song on her Facebook page, she wrote that “Wars” is “a little song about trying to keep it together.” Almost immediately after hitting play you like where it’s going. You go along for the ride—a ride through dust and pebbles, passing by the sun-stained scenery, letting the melodic sound of plucked chords flow over you like waves; you feel the tension, the build up, the pulsing excitement lurking beneath this soothing opening… and then it picks up. And boy, does it pick up.
Last year Eliza Shaddad, who hails from London, released EP Waters (and if you haven’t heard the title track, make sure you do so promptly). Listening back to that EP, you’ll notice that Eliza is adept at creating a sense of urgency throughout her music. You always get the feeling that something great is on the brink; something’s gonna get loose and everything’s gonna go haywire. Few artists these days understand the importance of suspense. Even fewer artists will realize that music lies in between the notes, or that music is as much about the notes you don’t hit, or any other anecdote of musical theory you can think of. Eliza, however, gets it. In “Wars,” she lets the song bubble up with intensity. This tension builds and builds as the song goes on, and you never want it to end.
Then, what do you know, it ends. Why does it end? Sure you were satisfied, sure you got your fill, and you certainly aren’t feeling like you were let off easy; you just want more, more, more. There are some artists that dish out everything they’ve got in one track, leaving nothing to the imagination. Then there’s Eliza Shaddad, who not only gives you her all in this song, but seems to tease her audience saying, “Stick around, the best has yet to come.” She certainly has plenty in her repertoire, so we can expect more (thank goodness). Mind you: if this is your first exposure to Eliza, you’ll be searching through the rest of her catalogue as soon as the “Wars” end.