Thank You, Happy Birthday!

2 Dec

“Fuck this, we’re going to write the music we’re going to write”, says Cage the Elephant guitarist Brad Shultz about the band’s second album, Thank You Happy Birthday.

Listening to the album, this attitude isn’t difficult to discern – Cage the Elephant present catchy, fast-paced rock-‘n’-roll-punk with lyrics that that cut straight to the chase about the lies and failures of modern society (society [n]: a catchall term for everything that is ever wrong with the world.)(that wasn’t sarcasm).

Much of the album’s sentiment derives from a series of rough events for lead singer Matt Shultz, who in addition claims simply to be frustrated with how “Americans are ‘slaves to advertisements'”. Shultz doesn’t seem to live on a high-horse, though. “On the first record I think I was really frustrated and angry at the world and writing about its problems and my frustrations with them,” he says, “but on this record I realized I was part of the hypocrisy… Because everything fell apart I had to face up to everything. Some songs are a direct attack on myself.”

Shultz’ experiences of chaos and destruction are clear in the opening track, “Always Something” which sardonically heralds the fact that “around the corner, there’s always somethin’ waitin’ for ya” – definitely my favourite track for the moment. “Indy Kidz” is also great fun for its ripoff of  – what else? – the relentless and ironic pursuit of counter-culture for its now-mainstream cool-factor.

Cage the Elephant are an enjoyable band for the strong sense put across in their music that they really just play whatever the heck they damn well want to. Thank You Happy Birthday, although melodically upbeat, is also cathartically cynical in its lyrics, making it satisfying to sing along to or have playing on repeat in the back of one’s mind.


Disclaimer: No, of course I didn’t interview the band. I read the bio on their website. It’s a good read, you should check it out.

(In other words… References: Sony Music Entertainment, 2011. Bio. [Online.] Last accessed from on 2 December 2011.)

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