Make Up The Breakdown (Cage the Elephant, Tell Me I’m Pretty review)

You know that guy or gal that walks around with a lot of confidence but just can’t seem to make it work? Says they’ve got it all. Says they’ve got it. But you don’t really want to be the one to point out that they don’t.

Hot Hot Heat appropriation aside, this week’s album review is about a band that seemed hot to trot, but just couldn’t convince me before. But can they finally break the proverbial ice?

Let’s find out.




Cage the Elephant – Tell Me I’m Pretty
released December 18, 2015
********* 9/10


Cage the Elephant is a Kentucky born American Rock group that got their start in 2006. Tell Me I’m Pretty is their 4th studio album, which was recorded in spring of 2015, announced in October, and released rather delicately at the end of the 2015.

Because you expect honesty from me I’m gonna tell you that I’ve had some mixed feelings about Cage the Elephant.

I bought their self-titled first album on a whim for 8 bucks last year because I enjoyed that dumb catchy single, Ain’t No Rest For the Wicked, when it was popular, and the album turned out okay – like a 5 or a 6. Then I bought Thank You, Happy Birthday later in the year and just couldn’t get into it. It felt disjointed and the hooks weren’t there for me. It’s albums like that which make me hate buying untested music.

But that’s part of it.

So I said to myself, “Tim, Cage The Elephant’s third album Melaphobia could be really good or really terrible, based on their current track record. But I’ve been hurt and I didn’t want to get hurt by them again.”

And then I kinda forgot about the group and didn’t pick the record up.

I was busy with life and after the holidays came around I got back into the swing of things by going through my yearly Boxing Day shopping gauntlet, but then I remembered I hadn’t gathered my music and movie picks for this week and I saw a new Cage The Elephant album.

I had mixed feelings, as eluded to previously, but I bought it. And this album is more than okay. It’s really really good.

If I were to guess I think Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys had a lot to do with it. He helped produce Tell Me I’m Pretty and while Mess Around sounds familiar, the kinda song that will eventually get used in a jeans commercial, the rest of the album is incredibly thoughtful and poised to get the range of emotions you should be craving right now.

Some might argue that their roughness was what made Cage The Elephant a good act, and I would heavily disagree with that. Cold Cold Cold is incredibly minimalist and tight, whereas That’s Right and Punchin’ Bag bring a bit more excitement and eclectic paranoia to the mix.

If you like soulful ballads then Too Late To Say Goodbye and Trouble will be perfect people pleasers for you too.

Probably my favourite aspect of the album is the fact that each track has enough weight to hold it’s own and provide a bit of organization to hold the mix together.

Unfortunately there aren’t any music videos that I could find just yet, but that just might be a testament to the calm and cool of this release.




Normally I’m a big fan of anything independently made or which has even a hint of an alternative sound, but Cage the Elephant had a hard time earning back my trust after that initial few let downs.

Then I learned that their sound just needed to mature a bit. They needed some proper attention, and here we are, with an excellent rock album. Fortunately for us they were able to make up the breakdown of their previous efforts and I can’t wait for what they have in store next time around!

Until tomorrow, dear readers. Have a good one.