Night Running
by Cage the Elephant (featuring Beck)

Album: Social Cues (2019)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • "Night Running" finds Cage frontman Matt Shultz trading verses about vampires and x-ray vision with Beck. The slinky, horn-laden track has the sort of nocturnal reggae groove that Beck has been making throughout his career but is a newer sound for fans of Cage the Elephant.
  • Matt Shultz and his guitarist brother Brad had started writing “Night Running" years before they recorded Social Cues but were struggling to complete the verses. As the band was working with Beck's father, arranger David Campbell, they had the idea of sending the track to his son who sent it back with his verses within a couple of days.

    "We'd found a really great direction for the chorus but it was one of those songs where I was just stumped on the directions for the verses," Matt Shultz told NME. "We were talking about how to finish the song and Brad was like, 'For some reason, I feel like Beck would know.'"

    So Brad Schultz sent their uncompleted song to Beck and "within 24 to 48 hours he'd sent back two verses and said he had four other options."
  • Like the rest of Social Cues, the song was produced by John Hill (the guy behind Shakira's "She Wolf" and Portugal. The Man's "Feel It Still").
  • Matt Schultz had been nervous about the song before the decision was made to get Beck's help. His brother Brad recalled to The Sun:

    "He didn't want to let the track down and so he was being very precious with his vocals, to a point almost where fear took over and he was worried about ruining the song with his creativity."

    Matt added: "I believe that was one of the reasons it just jumped out in Brad's mind. It was the logical option, so he sent it off to Beck."
  • The neon-tinged, trippy music video finds Cage the Elephant and Beck dancing against a '80s sci-fi background. At the end, the viewer realizes the whole thing was all a simulation inside Matt Shultz's head.

    The clip was directed by Jennifer Juniper Stratford. "For 'Night Running,' I wanted to create a realm where a super computer that hosts a simulation program creates a series artificial worlds," said the director. "While Beck would appear to live within the software as a master control, Matt would be transported to different worlds and new identities leaving him to question what is real."

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