Cage The Elephant’s Social Cues Disappoints

By Ella Ilg, Arts and Entertainment Editor

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Cage the Elephant’s new album “Social Cues” mixes it’s used psychedelic sound with unbalanced lyrics and a lovely horrific affect. Social Cues released Fri., April 19 and was met with mixed, but generally positive, reviews. The album features 13 tracks and had four singles released prior to it’s release: “Ready To Let Go,” “House of Glass,” “Night Running,” and “Goodbye.” The albums lyrics deal heavily with the frontman Matt Schultz‘s tragically eventful life, handling a divorce with his wife and losing two friends to suicide.

The new album, in the nicest possible way, is more of the same. It sounds pretty much just like Melophobia and Tell Me I’m Pretty. They stay in their comfort zone with the heavy bass and fuzzy garage rock sound. This isn’t a bad sound, but all of the songs across these three albums could be exchanged at random and the albums wouldn’t sound any different. In comparison to other popular alternative bands like Panic at the Disco and Fall Out Boy — who change their sound and genre in almost every album — Cage The Elephant stays consistent. If you like their psychedelic fuzz rock sound that’s great, but if you want the band to evolve and try something a little different, it’s a little disappointing.

There are a few songs that break from the norm, like “Love is the Only Way” which uses a heavy string orchestra and an acoustic guitar to get across a melancholy feeling of trying to escape depression and a sense of failure. In terms of artistic ability this song is well above the bar the band seems to have set for themselves. Though it is incredibly slow it still fits in the context of the album, unlike “Goodbye” which is a painfully slow ballad to end the album on.

The lyricism in this album is, as previously stated, unbalanced. Some songs are vapid and just sound fetishism with no real message, with very basic alternative pop lyrics, like “Black Madonna”. Mixed with this are songs like “Love is the Only Way” and “The War is Over” which has incredibly well done metaphorical work in its verses. Of course an album is allowed to have music that isn’t deep or thought provoking and just simply slaps, and on this album that’s “Broken Boy.”

The horror affect is the only thing that slightly differentiates the album from the band’s other works. The pace of the songs leave you feeling slightly anxious, and could be compared to the song from Melophobia “It’s Just Forever” which definitely leaves you feeling at the very least unsettled. Whereas that was one song from their third album, almost all the songs from Social Cues have this unnerving effect. It certainly adds some value to the album, which is otherwise valueless.

It’s good music, but it’s more of the same from the band, and the only songs really worth a listen are the three listed in the previous paragraph. If this was their first record, my opinion would likely be different in terms of it’s value, but the bands sound has become very repetitive, and this record just doesn’t really add anything fresh. There is harm in staying too consistent.