It is an undisputed fact that Cage the Elephant is one of the best rock groups to hit the scene in decades. With one sold-out tour after another, whether headlining the Aragon here in Chicago or opening for The Black Keys at the United Center, a hit gold record, an impressive festival history and live show unlike any other, Cage has proven time and time again that it is a force to be reckoned with.
Two weeks ago Cage the Elephant’s new single “Mess Around” debuted, the first listen to the band’s upcoming fourth LP Tell Me I’m Pretty slated to be released on December 18. Watch the video here:
“Mess Around” is a raucous testament to everything that CTE is at it’s core: messy and off-kilter, but brutally honest and full of fiery passion. A searing opening riff and lyrics like “the heat is rising and only getting hotter, ready to blow / I think I’ll pour myself a glass of water, let it flow” crooned in frontman Matt Shultz’s signature yowl, liken this song to earlier work by the band, especially anthems off of 2011’s Thank You, Happy Birthday. The drum-heavy chorus with repetitive “oh’s” is reminiscent of the track “Come A Little Closer” from the band’s last release, 2013’s Grammy-nominated Melophobia, and the almost psychedelic backing track is obviously inspired by The Black Keys’ Turn Blue. This similarity is expected, as The Black Keys’ frontman Dan Auerbach produced “Mess Around” and also produced Tell Me I’m Pretty in its entirety, assumedly steering Cage toward a more garage-rock sound, a taste of which is present in this song.
Overall, this song shows that Cage the Elephant is still the same high-energy band from Bowling Green, Kentucky; but it also shows that CTE, with the help of one of the most sought-after producers in music, is propelling itself closer to rock legend one catchy beat at a time.