“Pretend.” by Caii is this intense, soulful display of what it feels like to be in a physically passionate relationship with a complete lack of communication. Hindered by the numbing quality of sensuality, an acknowledgment of pain or confusion is never made–and just like the title implies, the couple uses intimacy to pretend nothing is wrong. Caii’s smooth, powerful voice grounds the message, infusing it with urgency and undeniable humanity. Furthermore, the production adds the pinch of creativity needed to solidify it as an alternative pop masterpiece.
The song opens with some harmonized, acapella vocals: “A few more minutes in this bed is a few more minutes we can pretend.” It’s a strong start both musically and conceptually. Caii’s voice takes the spotlight as she perfectly and succinctly packages the theme. With a few soft piano chords, we’re thrust into the verse. The harmonies continue to adhere to the lead vocal in this vocoder-like fashion. The instrumentation remains sparse until the chorus, at which point a slew of textures and rhythms collect underneath the melody.
A guitar performs bright power chords as some electronic drums hold down the beat. Caii belts an anthemic melody, cascading over notes and chords charged with spirited energy. Twinkly synths course through the background, giving the somewhat heavy track a little ethereal touch. The hook has just the right amount of built-up anticipation to make it climactic, and ultimately very satisfying. If you like pop music that’s on the dark or emotional side, you’ll love “Pretend.” Be sure to give Caii a listen!
Written by Alyce Lindberg