Zoe Ko’s “Rib Cage” is a poignant piece on being homesick for a partner, not a place. “Rib Cage” is Zoe’s latest single off her upcoming EP set to release in November of this year. Zoe speaks from her experience with a nomadic life and her divorced parents. She begins the song by delving into her homesickness and how she misses things she never had. Zoe compares her emotions to packing and unpacking a house, and says she goes through places so fast she can never truly feel at home. Then in the pre-chorus, she remarks on this “disease” she’s caught, which brings her a fever and a headache that never leaves. It’s the chorus where she names the “disease” as homesickness. She says she’s “emotionally homeless”, and she can’t find a place for her heart. She uses a complex simile to compare her partner’s body parts to a bedroom, with their ribcage as a closet and their lungs as her pillow. Zoe says that she’s almost nostalgic for her partner since she knows them so well. As the backing track deepens in the second verse, she makes even more comparisons relating to her bedroom. Zoe says that when she’s “cleaning out the memories”, she loses things that she wants to keep. She makes a clear reference to the saying “blood’s thicker than water” with her lyric “water’s more precious than blood”, meaning that the people she meets are more meaningful to her than her family. This lesson taught her to be flexible, but not trusting. As the backing track gets even heavier, she paints a picture of a house with her partner, and ends the song by saying “when I’m in your arms/it’s the only thing I see.”
The song starts out with simple and mellow instrumentation, with just a dreamy guitar and her vocals. She uses this same instrumentation through the first verse, pre-chorus, and chorus. But just as the listeners become familiar with the sound, Zoe switches up the vibe in the second verse, utilizing a soft rock influence with a classic kick and snare beat. She switches up the vibe again for the outro, with a distorted guitar, heavy drums, strong background harmonies, and a large build-up in sound. But as she says “it’s the only thing I see” for the second and last time, the sound takes a step back to highlight Zoe’s vocals. Zoe showcases her powerhouse vocals throughout the whole entire song, but especially in the outro. Her vocals are so smooth and she belts with ease. The main genre of the song is pop, but there are influences of alternative music and indie pop that shine through.
Music has always been a part of Zoe’s life, but she began her music industry career at 19 years old. She is an NYC-based singer-songwriter, and she has already amassed great success. Her debut single, “Line”, garnered over 415k streams in the first year, and landed her on multiple Spotify editorial playlists, like Fresh Find ‘Class of 22’ and Young & Free. Her second release, “Til U”, also landed her on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist. Her third single, “Lovesick in Public”, gained much social media attention, even before its release. “Lovesick in Public” has almost 1 million streams currently, and was placed on many of Spotify and Apple Music’s editorial playlists upon its release as well. With Zoe’s upcoming EP to streaming services in November, Zoe will continue to show the world her great vocals and songwriting skills.
Written By Lauren DiGiovanni
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