Cage the Elephant - Social Cues
Star rating: 5/5
Cage the Elephant has rocked for a long, long time. Their latest album, Social Cues, is dew from the heavens sent to bless the indie rock revival. Though this album may stray from their original blues-roots sound, this record will have you tapping your foot along with every catchy groove that they could come up with.
It follows the framework they built for Tell Me I'm Pretty, but adds new elements to the mix, too. It's easy to tell that this album will be all over the radio very soon. The lead single "Ready to Let Go" was released a few weeks prior to the album, and it was well received by fans and critics alike. Ok, let's dive in!
Top Tracks & Takeaways
The best song on this album is "Broken Boy". It is a poignant re-telling of teenage angst and rebellion. Lines begin with an actual character, but then end up explaining an archetype, rather than a specific person. "I was born on the wrong side of the train-tracks, Always born on the wrong side of the train-tracks". The album's title alludes to this type of unwillingness to follow a straight narrative, which allows Matt Schultz's writing to explore strange love and complex feelings.
"Ready to Let Go" is a great song, but as has been pointed out by fans in the YouTube comments and elsewhere, it sounds almost identical to "Too Late to Say Goodbye" from their previous album (which won a grammy). This reviewer can't blame the band for wanting to repeat their success, but they must have been aware of the similarities.
Another great track you'll enjoy can be found in "The War is Over". "What's the point in living? Living feels like dying," Matt croons. He laments that we spend our lives building walls, when love was already present on "both sides". It's a powerful message, and the music has eerie organs that really hit the spot.
"Dance, Dance" asks the ever important question: "Are we vibin'? Or just lying?" We are then told that we're vibing, but with the knowledge that it might just be a lie. The lyric "dance, dance, dance" is isolated and given a mildly creepy effect, to impress the listener with the juxtaposition of happy dancing and the feeling that something just isn't right.
What we liked
This record differs enough from Tell Me I'm Pretty to avoid sounding like a clone. It also has a listenable quality to it, and most listeners should have no trouble sitting through all 44 minutes of the band's neo-psychedelic stylings.
Where Matt and crew were overstimulated on previous records, this one finds the right balance between reserved and all out emotion.
Not so much...
"House of Glass" is missable, and almost seems like they wrote it to fill time. Readers may disagree, but this reviewer didn't find anything too impressive about the track.
Videos and Singles
Ready to Let Go
Overall, we'd be surprised if this record is not as big, or bigger than Tell Me I'm Pretty. It ticks all the right boxes and leaves nothing to be desired. Time will tell if the album gets the respect it deserves, but since it is brand new, go listen if you haven't heard it yet! And as always, we suggest you listen all the way through, even if you're using a streaming service. It's the way the artist intended.
Skin and Bones
Ready to Let Go
House of Glass
Love's the Only Way
The War Is Over
What I'm Becoming