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"Don't Leave Yet!" Stream Eric Nam's latest album, "House on a Hill"

By Kya Brogdon | 15 September, 2023

eric nam latest album
Photo by The Eric Nam Company Inc. via Spotify

Over a year since his last album There And Back Again and the subsequent released reimagined version earlier this year, Korean-American singer/songwriter Eric Nam is back with his third English album House on a Hill. After dropping the name-sake track, “House on a Hill,” in June and the follow-up single “Don’t Leave Yet” in August, we finally received the whole album in September - and I’m absolutely obsessed.

“House on a Hill” quickly rose to the top of my On Repeat playlist after its release. A track for those trying to figure out the “correct” path in life (I think that’s the default setting for everyone, at this point), Nam constantly throws out what-ifs and maybes while talking about the future and what he’s looking for in his life. This song immediately had me teary-eyed from the very first lyrics. “Get a house on a hill, make a whole lotta money / That's when I'll be okay.” The poignancy in Nam’s voice as he tries to convince himself that one day he’ll be okay hit hard, and that feeling doesn’t go away. The chorus is a ball of questions, ranging from “what if I’m happy right now?” to “what if I’m never happy?” - each question is meant to scare you, but also meant to reframe your mind into figuring out what your happiness really looks like. “What if I get everything I want? / What if nothing ever fills me up? / What if being happy isn't what I thought? Oh / What if more is never enough? / What if I have everything right now? / And I'm missing what it's all about? / What if being happy isn't what I thought? Oh / What if more is never enough?” Nam doesn’t come to any sort of conclusion by the end of the song, the outro is an echoing question of “When is more and more / And more and more enough?”, but I think that’s a better message than if he had just suddenly figured it out within three minutes. Figuring out who you are, what you want, and what drives you is a complicated and life-long journey - one that is not simply fixed by having a house on a hill.

With the release of the album came a music video for the third track, “Only for a Moment.”

Dressed in a Matrix-inspired outfit, Nam sings about a love-at-first-sight meeting and the subsequent daydreaming that comes from it. “It was only for a moment / But it felt like time had frozen we were face to face / Was it only me who noticed / The chemistry between us that had filled this space / I saw our lives / Flash in my eyеs / It was all in my mind / But it was only for a moment / Only for a moment.” After the bridge, Nam re-sings the chorus with a slight change in lyrics, now singing “we” instead of “I.” The subtle change brings a whole new message to the ending of the song, showing that the “love at first sight” isn’t just one-sided. My favorite thing about the song as a whole is the fact that Nam sings in his lower register - something we don’t get often. While his high notes are amazing, I’m in love with the rich, deep alto-style vocals we get in this song, and I think it fits into the dreamy vibe of the melody and the message of the song perfectly. “Only for a Moment” is definitely one of my favorites off of this album, and I can’t wait to see it live when I see Eric Nam in concert later this year.

Another one of my favorite songs off of the album is “Exist.” While There And Back Again talks mostly about grieving the loss of an important relationship, “Exist” talks about being so enamored with someone that it feels like only the two of you exist in the world. The music is soft, a gentle melody that guides the listener through the feelings of love. It swells at the chorus, the way one's heart might swell when they see the people important to them. “Hold, hold me in your hands / I'm just a speck of sand / Lost in the wind / 'Til I catch your drift / Spinning me in circles, oh / It's easy to dismiss / As if we're just a blip / Put it on the line / Just for tonight / Only you and I exist.” When I was first listening to the album, I had to pause and take a moment to process this song after hearing it because it just made me so emotional. My immediate thought was how beautiful this song would be as a first dance at someone’s wedding, and now that’s all I picture whenever I listen to it.

Overall, this album is pure gold. I didn’t think I could love an album more than There And Back Again, but I think Eric Nam has outdone himself with this one. The rest of the B-sides are just as amazing as the three I’ve talked about above, and the entire album has been on repeat since it came out. I was already having a hard time waiting for my show date, but now it’s even worse - November can’t come soon enough.

Congrats on such an amazing release, Eric, and thank you for your music. I can’t wait to see you in Phoenix!


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