Melophobia - Cage the Elephant
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Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 55 Ratings

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  • Summary: The third full-length release for the Kentucky rock band was produced by Jay Joyce.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 13
  2. Negative: 1 out of 13
  1. Feb 14, 2014
    Their [stardom] has been a slow rise. The ascent continues apace. [Mar 2014, p.108]
  2. Oct 17, 2013
    Melophobia is a thoroughly modern rock record, where all the past is alive in the present, so if you've ever had affection for any alt-rock sound from the '80s through the 2000s, it's hard not to find something to enjoy here.
  3. Feb 3, 2014
    While the familiar swagger is present and correct both in the Bowie-influenced "Spiderhead" and the crackling "It's Just Forever," these moments are leavened by quieter, more reflective tracks such as "Hypocrite." [Mar 2014, p.72]
  4. Oct 8, 2013
    There's a freaky encounter with a spaceman ("Telescope") and a dance-party rager about a wicked girl ("Black Widow"), but the whole thing vibrates with hopped-up discovery.
  5. Feb 6, 2014
    The result is a compelling exercise in growth.
  6. 70
    Cage the Elephant sound bigger and more polished here, but it’s Shultz’s lyrics that have grown up the most.
  7. Oct 22, 2013
    It’s a confused effort, with the songwriting faults, misguided lyrics, and the foolish sidelining of Cage the Elephant's greatest weapon (Schultz’s voice) torpedoing the vast majority of tracks.

See all 13 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Feb 13, 2014
    Cage The Elephant always surprises me. On their third studio album they did nothing but surprise me. They showed their range by testing the waters of retro music, horn sections, hard to sing vocals, delicate instrumentation, and beautiful lyrics. Lincoln Parish (lead guitarist) was genius on almost every track, without the little touch of guitar magic Come a little closer wouldn't have been worth it. The Schultz brothers both delivered with a lot of passion, the vocals were soft but raw in a way. the back up guitars were distorted in a very tasteful way. The bassist Daniel was specially impressive in the intro of the song Teeth, and of course the very memorable bass line in Come a little closer. and last but not least the very creative drumming of Jared in the song Hypocrite. over all the album was structured in a perfect way I'd say, whenever you felt you were listening to a very soft and delicate album they threw a funky/aggressive song at you. the best example is after listening to Come a little closer and Telescope, you are in a very calm mood and BAM! they put in It's just forever a very upbeat cleverly placed song. And I found it to be very tasteful of their part to finish such an experimental and intricate album with such a delicate and simple song like Cigarette Daydreams. over all it was a very creative piece of work, that truly pushed Cage the elephant's boundries. Expand
  2. Oct 10, 2013
    I am a big Cage the Elephant fan and this album is excellent. "Hypocrite," "Telescope," "Cigarette Daydreams," and "Spiderhead" are all introspective masterpieces. I would recommend this to anyone that likes real American rock music with originality and purpose. Expand
  3. Oct 13, 2013
    Masterpiece, Cage The Elephant's Melophobia is very original and different as well as being oddly familiar, the album feels as if ive just experienced the birth of a families third child that looks very similar to its brothers and parents yet is unique different and original in its own special little way the album as so much variety and so much personality like for example in tracks Like "Spiderhead" to tracks like "Cigarette Daydreams" and "Halo" all have this unique different feeling whether it being the bittersweet hard hitting lyrics to the difference in vocals, drum, bass and percussion, simply felt as if i was listing to something thing new every time, sadly the album does have its faults like the track Teeth which in my opinion drags on for to long yet compared to the track Indiy Kidz from the last record is so much better and a lot more interesting. Overall I Very much enjoyed the new album in fact it is probably the best album i have heard all year, definitely in my top 5, so much more interesting then Queens Of The Stone Ages New Record, 10/10 would bang, (Melophobia is a fear of music, funfact) Expand
  4. Oct 13, 2013
    --I am a CTE fan, so maybe this is biased--
    Great album, not perfect. CTE is maturing as a band, which means this is not the older "In One
    Ear" CTE. Still a lot of fun listening to this album, but the length is one thing that is a bit of a bummer. Every song is catchy. Lyrics are a strong suit in this album. Great stuff here. Definitely check it out if you want something new to listen to. Expand
  5. Dec 6, 2013
    This album basically takes everything that made the first 2 great, keeps some traits, throws out others, adds in a good amount of experimentation & diversity, and makes for what I consider to be their best one to date. Probably the biggest difference between Melophobia & their past work is its maturity. Sure the self-titled debut & Thank You Happy Birthday had some awesome slices of charming goofiness, but on a lot of moments here they seem to be shooting for something with a bit more depth & diversity. To me, the place where it's most apparent lyrically is the song “Telescope”, which details a man stuck in a rut who's lost any sense of ambition or purpose, and the vocal delivery from singer Matt Shultz comes off extremely genuine. I found the keyboard part a bit cheesy at first but it's really grown on me with repeated listens. “Come a Little Closer” was an interesting choice for the lead single, since it's definitely different from the lead singles on the last 2 albums, and not even the most “Cage the Elephant-y” song on this album. It's a reverb-coated & almost psychedelic indie rock song with a great bassline & really catchy chorus that's probably the “coolest” the band has ever sounded. I especially love the way it breaks down after the 2nd chorus into the bridge & gradually builds into the last chorus. “Take It Or Leave It” is another great one that to me is basically what would happen if CtE, Vampire Weekend & The Strokes met on a tropical island & jammed. “Cigarette Daydreams” takes an interesting turn as a sweet acoustic love song with a lot of personality. It ends the album on a nice & pleasant note that I think was a good choice in terms of track sequencing.

    So yeah, they're a bit more reserved about half of the time. But they're still not afraid of just rocking out for the other half. The great pair driving alt-rockers “Spiderhead” & “Halo” that start each half of the album will easily satisfy fans of the earlier stuff, but not at all in a way that feels lazily pandering to those resistant to change. “It's Just Forever” is easily one of the crazier moments here. It's got fuzzed-out riffs straight out of a James Bond movie & wonderfully demented lyrics about love from both singers, with Alison Mosshart giving a real powerhouse performance in the bridge. 3 tracks in a row in the back half all feature a horn section, which I think was a great addition. “Black Widow” is probably the best showing of this, and includes a fantastically over-the-top falsetto chorus. “Teeth” might be the most experimental, ambitious & raw moment on this whole album. Everything about this song is fast & energetic, but at the same time feels very planned out, from the simple but catchy feedback-laced riffs to the just plain chaotic chorus ends & guitar/sax solos. But the most interesting part is probably about halfway through, when the tempo slows down & Shultz gives a spot-on poetic monologue that criticizes artists who make music with popularity or pretentious hipness as the first priority.

    There are 2 more compliments I have to give this album. First off, it's short, and clocks in at only 10 tracks & 38 minutes. I like this since it shows the significance of each track instead of padding it out for no reason. Also, I love how despite the multiple directions this album goes in, it never loses the infectious hooks & memorable melodies that power their best songs. I'm so glad I'm gonna be seeing them this Sunday, since I imagine a lot of songs here would work great in a live setting.

    Top 5 tracks: Teeth, Telescope, Come a Little Closer, It's Just Forever, Black Widow
    Score: 92/100
    (Check out a longer version of this review on my Facebook page That Non-Elitist Music Fan.)
  6. Oct 29, 2013
    I came into this album on an air of mild disappointment after Cage The Elephant's previous effort, Thank You Happy Birthday. I was a huge fan of the first album, and I think perhaps the drastic change from their debut to TYHB was a bit overwhelming. I was prepared to enter this album with whatever opinion it required, disregarding any feelings I had for their first two albums. I was not disappointed.
    The songwriting has matured immensely but still has a slightly youthful tone and sound to it. Musically, this is their strongest record, with intoxicating riffs and hooks delivered by Lincoln Parish and Brad Shultz. This is also an amazing album vocally, showing the power Matt Shultz has in his bluesy and melodic voice. All in all, this is definitely my favorite Cage The Elephant album, and definitely a pick for my top ten albums of the year.
  7. Nov 19, 2013
    Cage the Elephant's self-titled album back in 2008 was a game-changer. It filled some grungy, punkish hole that had been left vacant since I stopped listening to Green Day in Jr. high, and filled it with head-thrashing, gain-filled songs like In One Ear and Ain't No Rest For The Wicked. Thank You Happy Birthday's release with songs like Shake Me Down felt like a compromise of that original sound, and Melophobia is in the same vein. Tracks like Come a Little Closer or Teeth pull you into the album, in search of more high-energy sing alongs, but the album ultimately offers disappointment at every other turn. The tracks in Melophobia are decent compositions in their own right, but the memory of 2008's James Brown makes me wonder if CtE hasn't lived up to their potential. Expand

See all 19 User Reviews