Review/Analysis of Album “Social Cues” by Cage the Elephant


Angelica Rivera-Oliveira

On April 19th, the well-known indie rock band, Cage the Elephant, released their fifth studio album titled “Social Cues”. With tale-telling lyrics and extraordinary instrumentals, many fans believe it might be their best album yet. The musical masterpiece touches topics like fame and success in our society, failed relationships, love, moving on, and much more. Rather than keeping it safe by sticking to what they know or by following in the footsteps of younger popular indie groups, Cage the Elephant yet again proved their excellence by standing out with a new jaw-dropping sound and meaningful lyrics to support it.

By incorporating a perfect blend of melancholy and fast-paced/gritty songs, the entire album places the listener on an emotional rollercoaster; Each track puts you on a different train of thought than the previous one. With lead singer Matt Shultz’ recent divorce, the tracks “Goodbye” and “Ready To Let Go” radiate his sadness and pure despair for the listeners to take in and for some to relate to. But it’s not extremely unexpected as the first tune on the album titled “Broken Boy” sets you up for a tone of dissatisfaction and an edge of anger and resentment.

I took the titular “Social Cues” as a story about the artist’s experience with fame and wanting to escape, but also a message to the public about the pressures and expectations this society has. The song itself starts off with a catchy melody and great beat to dance to, but the lyrics tell a completely dark story. Off the bat, Shultz recalls the change that fame brings onto people and rants about it saying, “Starry-eyed children left behind, to choose their favorite vice.” Meaning, they get sad and tend to turn to destructive behavior. He then continues to point out what our society values and how we measure success by mentioning how even though he is struggling, people say “At least you’re on the radio,” alluding to how he believes that some people value materialistic success over true happiness. Furthermore, he brings up the drug epidemic with young people, specifically the drug problem in the entertainment industry by saying, “Take some of these, they’ll ease the pain. Live fast, die young, pay the price. The best die young, immortalized.” With many more young and talented people dying due to opioids and drugs/alcohol in general, it tied in with his theme of societal pressure; He’s connecting the amount of pressure and expectations put on people nowadays to drugs because it could make them more likely to turn to harmful habits just to escape from the stress. Overall, the album covers serious topics that are extremely prevalent in today’s world and more specifically in American pop culture.