• Record Label: Columbia
  • Release Date: Apr 19, 2019
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
Buy On
  1. Entertainment Weekly
    Apr 29, 2019
    91
    The album's introspection paired with its urgent energy make Cage The Elephant sound more passionate than ever. [3/10 May 2019, p.95]
  2. Apr 30, 2019
    80
    Social Cues is Cage The Elephant’s darkest and most personal album yet.
  3. Uncut
    Apr 18, 2019
    80
    This audacious album succeeds not by altering Cage's distinctive identity but by exponentially amplifying it. [June 2019, p.26]
  4. Apr 18, 2019
    80
    But even as the lyrics detail troubled thoughts, the music staves off self-pity with distorted tones, obstinate drumbeats and unhistrionic vocals.
  5. 80
    The band’s best work to date.
  6. Apr 18, 2019
    80
    While Social Cues contains copious amounts of their signature buzz-saw guitars and frenetic, energetic vocals, it also shows Cage The Elephant's willingness to push the envelope and take some chances, although it's more like coloring outside the lines than it is a brand new drawing.
  7. 80
    This is the sound of Cage The Elephant exploring every corner of what they are.
  8. Apr 17, 2019
    80
    If this is an old story, Social Cues is a dynamic, uncommon telling.
  9. Mojo
    Apr 16, 2019
    80
    Musically, it's a radical rethink. [May 2019, p.89]
  10. Apr 22, 2019
    70
    Social Cues not an overly adventurous record, but it's the sound of a band who know their niche in contemporary alternative rock and how to deliver every time.
  11. Apr 19, 2019
    70
    By making such a decisive shift in direction, CTE wind up dampening the squalls of White Stripes, Strokes, and Pixies that defined their first decade of records, but that change also emphasizes how the group are at heart pop-pastiche artists, favoring style and sound over a finely honed song.
  12. 70
    Social Cues shows the group maturing musically without losing its grip on their ability to craft haunting, accessible tunes ready for the larger venues they have rightfully graduated to.
  13. Apr 16, 2019
    70
    A satisfying collection of glitzy anthems, breezy vibes, and even some earnestly introspective highlights that showcase technical and creative maturity amid a continuation of that efficacious recipe.
  14. Apr 22, 2019
    67
    If Social Cues isn’t a bad album by any stretch; it’s nonetheless, in the band’s discography, surprisingly generic.
  15. 67
    It would have been fascinating to see the band take a drastic turn and lean into experimentation, but instead they’ve returned with a relatively underwhelming fifth album.
  16. May 10, 2019
    60
    Though Cues features some of their most accomplished songs yet, their eagerness to please both sides (not to mention a woeful Beck cameo on the dub-reggae fusion of Night Running) make for a sometimes coldly calculating listen.
  17. Classic Rock Magazine
    May 3, 2019
    60
    Social Cues feels like the sound of a great band in desperate need of some down time. [Jun 2019, p.88]
  18. Apr 17, 2019
    60
    The band’s continuing experimentation with studio personnel, producers, influences, and ranges of emotion should be applauded. But a little more grit in the riffs would be nice.
  19. Q Magazine
    Apr 16, 2019
    60
    While it doesn't measure up to such great break-up albums as Beck's Sea Change or Blur's 13, Social Cues still possesses emotional heft. [June 2019, p.108]
  20. 45
    The underlying intensity to their music on previous records is stripped away, leaving in its wake a bland and largely forgettable experience.
  21. Apr 19, 2019
    40
    ‘Social Cues’ is a study in US radio - or so it seems, each song a suitable soundtrack to faceless car journeys along nondescript roads: think Imagine Dragons in leather jackets and ripped jeans, if you will.
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 46 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 46
  2. Negative: 0 out of 46
  1. Apr 24, 2019
    10
    Cage the Elephant are known for possessing a large variety of sound across multiple albums. From the raw debut self titled album and the moreCage the Elephant are known for possessing a large variety of sound across multiple albums. From the raw debut self titled album and the more experimental follow up ‘Thank You, Happy Birthday’ to the softer, melodic and more refined ‘Melophobia’ and ‘Tell Me I’m Pretty’, they have proven time and again that bands can change their sound and still be fantastic. Social Cues, the Kentucky bands 5th album, is no exception. Here we have 13 tracks of varied sounds that all sound polished and really catchy with brilliant lyrics. Granted, they haven’t experimented too heavily from their 3rd and 4th albums but Social Cues has songs that are reminiscent of their past discography , ‘House of Glass’ reminds me of their ‘Thank You, Happy Birthday’ days whereas ‘Ready To Let Go’ reminds me of their more recent work.

    Melophobia is one of my favourite albums from any band but even that has a couple songs I would likely skip over. Social Cues however hasn’t had a single song skipped in the already many times I’ve played it. While the best of Melophobia is probably Cage’s best work, as a whole album I feel that Social Cues has a slight edge. It’s a great album filled with a variation of songs and I’m sure any music lover can find something they enjoy here.

    Stand-outs: So many cracking songs on the album it’s hard to choose but my favourites are probably ‘Black Madonna’, ‘Skin and Bones’ and ‘Tokyo Smoke’.

    Overall a fantastic effort from Cage the Elephant, they’ve produced something really great once again.
    Full Review »
  2. Apr 19, 2019
    8
    First time I listened all the way through to a CTE album, but one or two of their earlier singles had caught my ear a few times so they wereFirst time I listened all the way through to a CTE album, but one or two of their earlier singles had caught my ear a few times so they were on my radar. This is an exercise in making sadness not meloncholic, but melodic, and it works. Now on my 10th listen and getting better with each. One of the best and most consistent rock albums I have heard in a while. Amid the rock drought of the last few years, this is music to my ears. If you like melodic rock with plenty of hooks and with a variety of styles thrown in, this is for you. Not sure if this lives up to their earlier albums, but it has tempted me to give them a listen. Full Review »
  3. Apr 19, 2019
    8
    Cage the Elephant lost its juvenile sense of wonder and irresponsibility, the optimism has given place to the cruel reality of adult life,Cage the Elephant lost its juvenile sense of wonder and irresponsibility, the optimism has given place to the cruel reality of adult life, failed love experiments and traumatic personal events. Cage the Elephant has matured, in a sense that like a young person they have seen more of the world, and become damaged by it. Full Review »