Cage the Elephant - Social Cues
Cage the Elephant
Cage the Elephant will be spending the summer on the road, as they continue to promote their fifth and latest studio album, Social Cues.
The 13-track record ventures through a wide soundscape that stretches beyond any particular genre or style.
With Social Cues, we see the band express themselves in a way perhaps fans haven’t seen before, as songwriter and founding member, Matt Shulz, reportedly wrote a number of the songs about his divorce from his wife, including "Goodbye", "Ready to Let Go", and "Love's the Only Way".
In order to record the album, the band split time between Nashville and Los Angeles while working with producer, John Hill. Hill co-wrote and produced “Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man, and has worked with Foster the People, Kings of Leon, Rihanna, and Florence + The Machine, to name a few.
Like many LPs, Social Cues has a few throwaway tracks, no doubt, but there are undoubtedly some standout tracks that deserve an addition to your playlist.
“Skin & Bones” is a psychedelic blend of cinematic storytelling combined with captivatingly dreamy instrumentation. The band did an amazing job of using a plethora of instruments on this album, and a great example is the strings section added to “Skin & Bones” which really brings the whole track to life.
The passion and, perhaps agony, ring loud through the vocal performance from Matt Shulz’s, and the synth pads and echoey guitar strumming make this song a dreamy pathway to musical euphoria.
“Night Running” is an extremely unique song, especially for Cage the Elephant. From the horns, all the way to the phasing reggae vibes filling the verses, “Night Running” is a different kind of flavour brought you to you by CTE in 2019. The song was co-written with Grammy Award winner and multi-instrumentalist, Beck, and an incredibly entertaining video was hatched between the two artists.
Talk about breaking away from the norm. There are so many interesting things going on with the sound choice on this track that it can be difficult to tell what’s going on. One thing is for sure though, “Night Running” is a smooth and unexpectedly fun jam that would be right at home playing at any party.
“Ready to Let Go” is the leading single from the album, and rightfully so. The track is funky, it’s catchy, and it checks all the boxes that fans of the band have become accustomed to. You go to Cage the Elephant for that carefree attitude kind of rock n’ roll, and they deliver on “Ready to Let Go”. The song smells a little bit like Queens of the Stone Age with remnants of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.
Considering what Shulz was going through while writing this album, it’s easy to see where much of the inspiration for this song came from, as he sings out “I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready to let go.” Surely this track hits home with the singer, and once again his genuine passion shines through on this one. Backed by a dancing bass line and slapping chord progression, “Ready to Let Go”, if anything, delivers on expectations held by the band’s fans.
Social Cues has some very impressive high moments in the aforementioned songs, but it doesn’t stop there.
“Dance Dance” is another catchy and groove-heavy song that is presented in a sort of western cinematic fashion. It sounds like it should be playing as Shulz and his bandmates drive off into the desert sunset after robbing a casino.
“What I’m Becoming” has a nice, mellow vibe with a beautiful chorus. Similar to most of the tracks on the album, this one is accompanied by a string section that really adds to the theme of the entire record.
Like most albums though, Social Cues has its share of tracks that didn’t quite make the mark. Songs like “The War is Over”, “Tokyo Smoke”, and “Broken Boy” are fine. They’re not bad and certainly don’t destroy the album, but they just don’t have the same impact as the others have on the record. “Black Madonna” is another fine track, but won’t become a staple in their collection.
Nonetheless, Social Cues is definitely worth checking out, as there is a little something for everyone on there.