Cage The Elephant - Thank You Happy Birthday
There are certain unavoidable and unpleasant circumstances we must all deal with. Some of these are fair, while most are not. And for an up and coming band who have had a small taste of success, there is nothing quite like the obstacle of the inevitable sophomore slump.
Cage the Elephant are finding this out for themselves. Their first record, self-titled, was a breakout hit. It was released in 2009 but really started to pick up steam last year after major radio rotation. After heaving touring and exposure, they have re-emerged from the studio with their newest release, Thank You Happy Birthday. So how does it stack up to its predecessor? Will it go down in history as a classic followup like Return to Cookie Mountain? Or will it be a colossal catastrophe like Congratulations?
One of the first things you will notice when listening to this record is how unique it is, sophomore release or not. This is most likely b/c the group would begin writing and if anything sounded similar to any of their previous work, they would begin to switch gears. Paranoid of not evolving, they would either quit what they were doing or begin to tweak it. This means they intentionally worked at making each song sound like it was written by a different band. This intermittent involvement becomes both it's biggest strength and weakness.
The album begins with the abrasive "Always Something", kicking off with the familiar sounds of previous hits "In One Ear" and "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked". This is probably as close as this new lp comes to sounding like the first. "Aberdeen" is one of the early and surprising tracks that sneaks up on you. At first you don't pay much attention to it but always find yourself playing it more than once. A nod to the godfathers of grunge, this song rocks and is definitely deserving of radio play. "Indie Kidz", like the rest of the songs, is both playful yet confidant. "Shake Me Down" is a single destined to be a stand out, and is indeed already gaining attention. I would be surprised if you haven't yet listened to it. The remaining tunes are brash and spunky, like Foo Fighters with some Bowling For Soup thrown it.
Apparently this work was finished with being recorded around the time their first self-titled was released and they even tried to have this one come out first. Who knows what would have happened had the order of both of these been changed up? What we do know is that while Cage's Happy Birthday may not be considered the best second release ever, it definitely isn't the worst. This may be indeed be frantic and frenzied work of art, but at least it's entertaining.
User Reviews and CommentsLog In or Register to Rate Albums
Tell us why this album is great or sucks ass, or correct the reviewer. If you write enough quality reviews you may find yourself on the editorial staff.
Reviews have to be over 100 words, shorter ones are classed as comments.
on 2011-12-15 SolitaryMan Said:
I totally lost track of CtE after I reviewed their promising 2006 single "Free Love/Tiny Little Robots". Never even got around to checking their debut out. Now, I took a chance on this album based on how I remember feeling about their sound before and...and I'm not sure what to think, really. At times they sound far too much like far too much of what I've heard before. At others, I am blown away. I really didn't start getting into the album until the awesome "Sell Yourself", which sounds like a mixture of Nick Cave and Queens of the Stone Age and Modest Mouse. "Rubber Ball" was actually quite touching and poignant, and...not much else made an impact. If they could manage an entire album in the style of "Sell Yourself", I'd be the biggest fan you could find. But they've tried to do too much with too little space to get comfortable. Perhaps this was intended, but alas, the results do very little for me beyond seeing the prospective of an awesome band hidden in mediocrity.
on 2011-05-20 hstisgod Said:
nice review, need to get at this!