[title size=”1 to 6″ style=”options: default, sidebar”]Album grade: F[/title]
Remember when you could listen to a Cage the Elephant album the entire way through, only to go straight back to the opening track and start all over again? Good times. Sadly, those days are gone, and Cage the Elephant’s newest album release makes it all the more bitter of a memory. The new release Melophobia, known as the fear of music, is an apt title for such an uninspired and hopelessly dull album, cementing Cage the Elephant as one of those bands that peaked in their freshman effort, slowly receding into obscurity.
The album begins with perhaps the worst song on the album “Spiderhead”, featuring droning, monotonous instrumentals and lyrics, leaving the listener exhausted by the end of it. “Spiderhead” is one of those songs that could be used to torture people by locking some helpless individual in a room and blasting it on repeat for hours on end. Not exactly the kind of musical score you want to open up with.
Unfortunately, the rest of the album doesn’t get much better. Every song essentially sounds derivative of one another, and there just isn’t a great diversity of sounds to even merit making this a full album. If they really wanted to, they could have cut out six of the ten songs and released an EP to show off the four different sounds on the album. Even their last album “Thank You Happy Birthday” wasn’t a stellar album in most regards, but it still had a few songs that audiences could latch onto and get behind, reminding us of what Cage the Elephant is truly capable of. This is not the case with Melophobia, as even the strongest songs on the album lend themselves neither to mainstream audiences who prefer the same Cage the Elephant from before nor the most hipster critic only interested in innovation and moving away from previous styles. There just is nothing to compel even the most hardcore fans to give this album more than a few listens.
As someone who went through a hardcore Cage the Elephant phase in my younger years, Melophobia is a complete bastardization of the punky rock and roll group we all fell in love with, and in a lot of ways the album is a complete nightmare. And maybe they knew that when making it, and the albums title is just them embracing their slow downfall. That’s the only sense I can make out of this album, anyway.