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"Social Cues" Cage the Elephant

by Shay Gauthier - 89.1 The Point
Tue, Apr 23rd 2019 11:05 pm

I’ll never forget listening to Cage the Elephant in middle school and simply falling in love with the band’s sound. For me, the group is the epitome of alternative music and has continued to impress me with every album it releases. When I heard that it came out with a new album “Social Cues,” I couldn’t wait to sit down and listen to it. From the few people who I heard had listened to it, they claimed it was quite emotional and an interesting change of pace for Cage the Elephant.

The album begins with the song “Broken Boy,” which immediately makes the audience suspect that “Social Cues” may be about that feeling of not fitting in. The entirety of the song seems to be about the struggle of not being recognized as normal. The message can make someone feel alienated by society when they are deemed weird. 

The third song, “Black Madonna,” genuinely confused me and I would like to break apart the meaning of the song but I am left in a constant state of wonder. In the song, the “Black Madonna” figure doesn’t seem to be happy or secure with where they are. It may be a reflection of how Matt Shultz or the band feels. 

“Night Running” sounds like classic Cage the Elephant. The group’s instrumentation is seen throughout. The tune is the perfect late night driving song, as are many on the album. I really enjoyed the song that followed this one, “Skin and Bones,” because it is another emotional song. The juxtaposition of the two songs “Night Running” and “Skin and Bones” is a nice touch to the overall flow of the album.

Cage the Elephant’s hit “Ready Let Go” comes next and I cannot say enough about this song. It’s extremely catchy and also handles some deeper meanings for Shultz. The song is about his divorce, which one wouldn’t know had they not looked at the lyrics. The song is great and it does not surprise me that it has become the staple of “Social Cues.” I also highly recommend watching the music video for this song.

The album then takes a turn with “House of Glass.” The group at the beginning sounds very reminiscent of the band Cake. The verses are spoken and I appreciate the different sounds Cage the Elephant can morph into, giving the album depth. Another song that reveals the group’s multitalented nature is “Love’s The Only Way.” It completely changes the vibe of the album, as it introduces a string opening and provides a soft guitar playing throughout. This song is beautiful and it seems extremely emotional. 

“The War is Over” is Cage the Elephant in its classic form. The whole album deals with themes of running away or hiding; this song almost sounds like the acceptance of those things coming to an end. Shultz sings that running and hiding stops because of love, which makes sense with the upbeat sound of the song. 

The very last song on the album is “Goodbye,” which not only sounds like the perfect closing title, but leaves the audience with deeper meanings. The song is the more emotional version of “Ready Let Go,” in that Shultz is saying goodbye to the person he called his significant other.  

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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