Hilltop Views

Cage the Elephant’s new single, “Mess Around,” is upbeat and poppy in nature

Taylor Duane

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Two years after releasing the grammy-nominated album “Melophobia,” Cage the Elephant has released “Mess Around,” the first single from their upcoming album “Tell Me I’m Pretty.” The long-awaited new track features a guitar solo from Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, who also produced the album.

The song is accompanied by a one-of-a-kind music video featuring clips from films of French filmmaker Georges Melies, who happens to be a pioneer of the early days of motion pictures.

Much like the solid rock sound of “Melophobia,” the new song offers distorted guitars and dirty rock ‘n’ roll vocals from frontman Matt Shultz. It’s the same sound that their fans know and love but with an obvious Black Keys influence and a little bit of a surfer vibe.

On top of that, a tweet from the band claims that the new track was slightly influenced by Outkast. In an interview with Consequence of Sound, Matt Shultz explains the OutKast influence.

“A couple years ago I saw OutKast doing their festival circuit. Andre 3000’s delivery and his sense of melody was inspiring to me,” Shultz said.

“Mess Around” is upbeat and almost poppy in nature. It’s a definite crowd pleaser—something the band could open a set with to get the audience on their feet.

What really shines through with this new track is the level of sass that radiates from this band, especially from Shultz. The band has always possessed a bit of a sassy attitude in performances and in their music, but “Mess Around” takes it to a whole new level.

With every album release, CTE has altered their sound just enough to keep things interesting without disappointing fans.

You heard southern rock vibes in their self-titled debut album back in 2009; “Thank You, Happy Birthday,” their 2011 album offered punk rock influence and angsty tracks; and their 2013 “Melophobia” drew from 1970s psychedelic rock and presented a sound that was uniquely Cage the Elephant.

A constant struggle for all bands as they gain popularity is trying to give the fans what they want while also staying true to themselves musically and creatively. In countless interviews, Shultz has alluded to wanting to keep the music organic rather than trying to fit into any existing expectations.

Considering “Mess Around” secured a number 23 spot on Billboard’s Alternative Songs and number 27 spot on Billboard’s Rock Airplay after less than four days radio play, it’s safe to say that Cage the Elephant has successfully evolved musically without losing any fans.

In the last six years of being in the studio, nearly nonstop touring and an ever-growing fanbase, Cage the Elephant has secured a name for themselves in today’s music industry. Six years ago they were playing small venues for crowds who didn’t know their name and now they are selling out shows, headlining their own tours and opening for legends like Metallica.

Just in time for an early Christmas gift, “Tell Me I’m Pretty” releases on Dec. 18 with a ten song track list. You can pre-order the album at cagetheelephant.com.

Follow Taylor on Twitter @tayyylorduane

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Cage the Elephant’s new single, “Mess Around,” is upbeat and poppy in nature