Cage the Elephant released its fifth studio album, “Social Cues,” on April 19. The album is CTE’s first full-album release since 2015 and follows a similar theme as its older work, but with a very interesting spin. “Social Cues” has 13 tracks and goes through everything from slow melodies to fast, hardcore rock and even a collaboration with American singer Beck.
This album was created in the wake of lead vocalist Matt Shultz’s divorce from his wife, which brought a very angsty and somber kick to it. Shultz has become well known for his vocals. Their raw and intense drawl is a huge part of “Social Cues.”
The band has been a large part of the alternative-rock scene since its debut self-titled album in 2009. Its fourth album, “Tell Me I’m Pretty,” even warranted a spot at the Grammy Awards, where it won the award for Best Rock Album.
“Social Cues” has been long-awaited following CTE’s four-year hiatus from releasing music. The band spent a long time in the studio piecing the album together to create the perfect flow.
The album starts off with “Broken Boy,” a very fast, loud and rock-heavy piece. Very similar to CTE’s past tracks, it is angsty and full of emotion. “Tell me why I’m forced to live in this skin / Tell me how I’m supposed to be forgiven,” Shultz sings. This song takes a garage-rock approach and sets an angry tone for the rest of the album.
In “Night Running,” the band collaborates with Beck in an upbeat and catchy melody. Mixing light rap with rock ‘n’ roll, this song is a perfect collaboration between the two artists. The song is eccentric and easy to dance to — almost like a reggae-esque vibe. The artists are embarking on a tour together in July to celebrate the collaboration.
“House of Glass” is a fast-paced rock song that is heavy with bass and guitar. While it may be much faster and more lively, the lyrics fit within the somber feel of the album. Inspired by horror movies, “House of Glass” has a dark and mysterious feel. “I’m underwhelmed, uninterested / I wonder why I’m over it,” Shultz sings. The lyrics are eerie, yet introspective as they interpret inner feelings in a creative way.
“Goodbye” was the first single released from the album that has been placed as the last song, finishing off “Social Cues” with a somber ballad. Written as a tribute to the end of Shultz’s seven-year relationship to his wife, he pours out all his emotion. “My pretty bird, my favorite lullaby / How’d I become the thorn in your side? / All your laughter turned to cry / It’s alright, goodbye,” Shultz sings. Riddled with metaphors and melancholy violin, Shultz paints a picture of his true feelings at the end of his relationship. The song was recorded in one take — in which Shultz sang while laying on the floor of the studio, overcome with emotion.
Despite the album being emotionally charged, it is still consistent with CTE’s typical vibe. By utilizing a collaborative talent between its instrumentals and Shultz’s raspy, yet captivating voice, CTE delivered an album jam packed with emotion and talent yet again.