Cage the Elephant Returns to the Blues on Tell Me I’m Pretty

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Cry Baby” opens the album and gives a great overview of what to expect from the rest of the songs: a great bluesy riff and lyrics addressing a girl in a rockabilly fashion. The entire band, which also consists of rhythm guitarist Brad Schultz, drummer Jared Champion, and bassist Daniel Tichenor, plays off each other very well in a rhythm that culminates in a very cool coda. The second song and first single off the album, “Mess Around” was released in October. Out of all the songs on the album, it seems the most ‘radio-friendly,’ but still carries that distinct blues sound. Schultz’s zany personality that is infamous at live performances shines here, and the song has a call and response feel between Schultz and the chorus. Other songs that have this fast energy ready for single status include “That’s Right” and “Punchin’ Bag.”

Friend of the band Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys produced this album and also played guitar. This fact comes as no surprise if you listen even to just the first song of Tell Me I’m Pretty; the entire album has the blues-rock feel of The Black Keys’ seminal record Brothers.  The influence appears particularly strong on second single “Too Late to Say Goodbye” and the riff in the last song, “Portuguese Knife Fight.” Anything Black Keys-esque is great, but some of the songs sound maybe a tad too close to the rock duo’s songs and formula (but you’ll have to decide for yourself).

Matt Schultz has said that they tried to be as transparent as possible with their lyrics on this album (see video below), and they even asked their fans to create artwork based on the lyrics. The lyrics cover no new ground and seem to focus more on common relationship issues, but there is a clear sense of vulnerability, especially in the slow and soulful “How Are You True,” where Schultz pleads and wails for that special someone to open up.

The simple production and devotion to a classic bluesy sound create nothing groundbreaking on Tell Me I’m Pretty, but it’s an enjoyable record from start to finish nonetheless.

Listen to the album below and let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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