After not seeing many releases from ZZ Ward since her 2015 EP Love and War, her new single “The Deep” is a refreshing sound for sore ears. “The Deep” finds Ward returning to her roots (alongside MC Joey Purp), channeling the blues and soul sound she’s known so well for. Her throaty crooning and twanging guitar deliver a sobering and dark message about being stuck in a toxic relationship. It conveys feeling trapped while also wanting more from a partner that, deep down, one knows they shouldn’t be with anymore. It’s vulnerable and honest, not trying to hold back anything or avoid the sensitive subject for fear of making anyone uncomfortable. It finds Ward singing about being at a precipice: remain where you are, or leave and explore the unknown. Regardless of the chosen path, both options are scary when you’re that deep into something so debilitating.

The song samples The Charmels’ “As Long As I’ve Got You,” which was also most notably seen in Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.” In a correspondence with The FADER, Ward explained that she saw something haunting in “As Long As I’ve Got You,” which she felt spoke to what she wanted “The Deep” to articulate.

Ward is expected to release her next full-length This Means War sometime later this year, so take a listen to “The Deep” below while waiting for more news on that.