I thoroughly enjoyed Cage the Elephantâ€™s eponymous debut album.Â It was a great, original album that wasnâ€™t concerned with being mainstream at all. Â Cage the Elephant struck me as some weird amalgamation of the Pixies and Kings of Leon, but with a lot more twang.Â It was this original sound that drew me to the band in the first place, so I donâ€™t have any clue as to why their second album pisses all over that originality with mainstream acid-urine.
Like a desperate high school senior trying to reinvent themselves for college by purchasing a leather jacket, Cage the Elephant attempts to put on a new face to attract listeners/mainstream acceptability.Â There are those of us who actually liked Cage the Elephant in the first place, and are disappointed by their metamorphosis.
Iâ€™m not just being stubborn and avoiding change. It is my opinion that Januaryâ€™s â€œThank You, Happy Birthdayâ€ is inferior in quality when compared with Cageâ€™s earlier work.Â The tracks that kick up the tempo actually overwhelm the ears with strident screeches, both from the guitar and the vocals.Â This is coming from someone who listens to heavy metal and enjoys his music eardrum-shatteringly loud.
On the other hand, the tracks that attempt to slow down the tempo are bland and boring.Â Not even inventive lyrics make up for this loss of musical intrigue.Â Itâ€™s like Cage the Elephant is only playing on both extreme ends of the spectrum, without any balance in between.
To be completely fair, three of the songs from this new album are good.Â Not great, but good.Â If you liked Cage the Elephant beforehand, then â€œShake Me Down,â€ â€œAround My Headâ€ and â€œAlways Somethingâ€ will not disappoint you.Â This album is not as good as I might have hoped, but these three songs will just have to be enough to tide me over until their next release, which will hopefully return to the original formula.
I am definitely not going to recommend that you buy this album.Â In fact, please donâ€™t.Â It sucks.Â But, what you should do is check out their first album.Â It does not suck in any way, shape, or form.
So, I give â€œThank You Happy Birthdayâ€ a C-, and advise you to expand your musical foundation with a little of the earlier Cage the Elephant, if you havenâ€™t already.