I very rarely write about songs performed in English, but this being a super slow week in k-pop releases means that Gallant’s new song gets a mention. Of course, with Eric Nam and Tablo taking over two thirds of the track, Cave Me In is about as Korean as a Western pop song could be. It’s funny, though. After so many years listening to music from around the world (and now pretty much k-pop exclusively) I’ve just kind of redefined pop music as something that’s meant to be performed in another language. It’s almost jarring to be able to understand every single word!
With this as a starting point, I won’t be mentioning Cave Me In‘s lyrics. After all, the song could have easily been translated and handed to any number of Korean r&b performers of the moment. Its smooth, atmospheric instrumental isn’t too different than something you’d hear from Zion. T or Crush. Its straightforward beat is supported by an airy blend of synths and gorgeous background vocals that haunt the track with a layer of hazy ambiance. Though not particularly inventive or new, it’s the exact type of subtle production a song like this calls for.
Cave Me In is divided into thirds, almost slavishly so. Though all three performers appear in the music video, there’s barely any interplay between them on the track. Gallant opens, followed by an extended rap verse from Tablo (god, I’ve missed his tone!) and a wrap-up verse/chorus from Eric Nam. Nam is especially impressive here, offering a more diversified, mature vocal performance than he’s shown us in awhile. His vocal tone is perfectly matched with this sort of sparse, layered arrangement. International collaborations like this don’t usually thrill me as much as they do many other fans, but Cave Me In is a smart pairing that results in a super solid track.