Thank You, Happy Birthday Review

artist: Cage the Elephant date: 01/19/2011 category: compact discs
Cage the Elephant: Thank You, Happy Birthday
Release Date: January 11, 2011
Label: Relentless
Genres: Alternative rock
Number Of Tracks: 12
This album sounds more like a generic indie album than the band that just three year ago seemed poised to take over the rock music world.
 Sound: 8.4
 Lyrics: 8.4
 Overall Impression: 8.4
 Overall rating:
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reviews (5) 27 comments vote for this album:
overall: 6.3
Thank You, Happy Birthday Reviewed by: Schmohawk, on january 14, 2011
3 of 6 people found this review helpful

Sound: "Thank You, Happy Birthday" sounds very different than Cage The Elephant's debut album. In some cases this can be a good thing, bands that can expand and not rely so myopically on the sound that made them famous usually have more staying power. However, as seen with a band such as Linkin Park, a drastic change or mellowing of the music can cause a certain level of revolt amongst the band's fanbase. Cage's new album is less aggresive, with many slower and softer songs than previously recorded. Gone too msny of the guitar riffs and solos which first made me standup and take notice to this original sounding, yet still mainstream act. This album sounds more like a generic indie album than the band that just three year ago seemed poised to take over the rock music world. There are a few bright spots on the album, but they were too few and far between. // 6

Lyrics: Matt Shultz's lyrical depth was a pleasant surprise for this genre of mainstream music. In many cases the new album displays some of the same tendencies heard on their debut album, with the song "Always Something" bringing up similar lyrical imagery heard on "Ain't no rest for the wicked." However, there were also many cases where "Thank You, Happy Birthday's" lyrics did not seem quite as polished as I would have liked. With a song such as "Around My Head" having a choppy, almost Bob Dylan, vocal style that leaves the song feeling very unfinished, and with the monkey-like "ooo ooo aaa aaa's" that lead into the chorus, this song exhibits the type of uneven sytle that I got from much of the album. // 7

Overall Impression: "Thank You, Happy Birthday" is an ok record; it just wasn't a good Cage The Elephant record. After the dismal 2010 in music, the bar was set pretty low, and Cage does manage to clear it with this album, but not by much. "Shake Me Down" and "Aberbeen" seem to be the best songs on the record, both of which will probably be the singles that sell the album, but there was just not enough of those songs. Too many songs were like "Rubber Ball," which incidentally works great as an alternative to NyQuil if you are having trouble falling asleep. Overall the record is a 6/10, but probably lost a point or so simply because I expected a 10/10 from these guys. // 6

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overall: 8.3
Thank You, Happy Birthday Reviewed by: guitarlord28, on january 19, 2011
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: Cage the Elephant's sophmore release, Thank You, Happy Birthday, hit stores January 11th. I've been waiting for it since I heard their self-titled debut last summer. They strayed away from their straight foreward, up-tempo in-your-face rock. The energy still remains, but they have slowed down and expanded. In my opinion, this was a good move. Of course, some fans will be alienated by the new direction. But that's the fans' problem. Here's my take on the songs: 01. Always Something - This song starts off with a catchy beat. It reminded me a bit of ZZ Top. It has a bit psychedelic sound compared to many of their songs. They stray into Beck territory with a bit of rapping by Matt. 02. Aberdeen - Very bass heavy during the verses. The guitar isn't straight chords, more effects and single notes. The chorus brings the straight chords. Some cool mini solos by Lincoln. 03. Indy Kidz - There is an darker, eastern quality to this song. It is similar in sound to The Rolling Stone's .Paint it Black'. They break into frantic, punk inspired chording. And then a trip into a place similar to the outro of 'Tiny Little Robots'. It's another psychadelic section. 04. Shake Me Down - Chorused clean guitars, and then fuzz filled choruses. It has a great sound in my opinion. They slip heavier sounds in where you wouldn't expect it. A great song soundwise. 05. 2024 - This song has a pop-punk sound. Now don't think of conventional pop-punk when I say that, it still has the Cage fingerprint on it that we all know and love. It has an upbeat sound to it. 06. Sell Yourself - Probably the most punk fueled song on the album. Fast, raw energy is what makes this song tick. 07. Rubber Ball - I guess you can consider this the ballad on the album. The intro reminded me of the Beatles' 'A Day in Life'. Has a repetitive riff during most of the song. It has a bit of a contemplative sound. 08. Right Before My Eyes - This is similar in sound to 2024, a lighter sound. I very much enjoy it. The sound isn't really upbeat, or sad, kind of a mix of the two. 09. Around My Head - Another upbeat sounding song. The repetition of the main riff has room between each one, which allows nice breating room that complaments Matt's singing. The chorus is a wall of sound. Not a heavy one, but that lighter sound that makes up a lot of the album 10. Sabertooth Tiger - This is fuzzy, almost White Stripes sounding song. You know what I mean. It has a frantic, almost odd sound. 11. Japanese Buffalo - It starts off with a sound that similar to the Beatles again. It then breaks into a fast riff. It's like they were trying to get as much out as they could. Then a trip into waltz-ish territory. It has a pleasant relaxing, harmony. 13. Flow - I really enjoyed this one. There's a minimalistic drum beat paired with almost hawaiian guitar sound. Bongos then come in. A simple song in many regards. At the middle, there's no sound, then they sing the lyrics to 'Right Before My Eyes' again. This time with an acoustic guitar and a shaker. It's very soothing. // 9

Lyrics: Cage the Elephant's lyrics are as wild as every. They are more introspective than Cage's debut album, which focused on society's issues more so. In Thank You, Happy Birthday, Cage the Elephant seems to take a step back and examine themselves. They still sing about society though. Songs like Indy Kidz and Sell Yourself target bandwaggoners and sell-outs. Always Something tells the tale of misfortunes that happen to a man, similar to Ain't No Rest For the Wicked in that regard. Sabertoothed Tiger takes a trip into pure wildness. There's mostly likely a deeper meaning, but I haven't had time to examine in depth. Matt's harmonies pair well with the rest of the band's sound. His raw throat screams have energy. The only thing that gets old is oo's and ah's. They are ok at first, but then get kind of repetitive. // 8

Overall Impression: This album may not appeal to many fans, but I think die hard fans will enjoy it. I for one did. It showed that Cage the Elephant has matured, but it still retains the same energy and has their signature sound. My favorite songs from the album are 'Always Something', 'Shake Me Down', and 'Right Before My Eyes'. I don't like 'Indy Kidz' or 'Rubber Ball' as much as the others, but I still enjoy them. If it was stolen/lost, I'd buy another one. It's as simple as that. I suggest you go pick up a copy this instant, you won't regret it. // 8

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overall: 8.7
Thank You, Happy Birthday Reviewed by: americnidiot, on january 19, 2011
2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: I'll first have to admit that this was somewhat of an impulse purchase for me, so it's hopefully a rather unbiased view of the album. I'd heard "In One Ear" and "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" (of course, who hasn't?) but nothing else of theirs. Having said that, I've since picked up the first album. That says something in itself. The album creates a lasting impression with unique sounds and raw energy that encourages you to delve deeper into their music. The sound is similar to the first album, but it's quite different at points as well. If you enjoyed the first album, you'll likely enjoy this one as well. But, enough of the last album, and on to this one. The sound is very similar to some MGMT. That's the best way I can describe what this album sounds like without referencing the band itself. There's probably better references, but that's what came to my mind. Some songs resemble a standard indie/alt. rock song such as "Shake Me Down," but others have a very raw, aggressive, modulated sound to them. "Indy Kidz", "2024", and "Sabertooth Tiger" are perfect examples. Those seem to be the more memorable, lasting tracks. Most of these high energy songs modulate tempo and other aspects of the song at will, but in a way that it works flawlessly. // 9

Lyrics: The lyrics on the album are solid. I haven't fully looked into every track on the album, but on the whole, they're acceptable. The lyrics fit quite well with the album though. The more toned down songs have simple singing while the high octane songs have more energy, almost a hybrid between singing and screaming. It all fits quite well with the music. // 8

Overall Impression: As a whole, the album is an improvement on the first album. If you liked the first, you're bound to enjoy this disc. You'll catch yourself humming numerous tracks throughout the day. As an impulse buy, I'm very happy as I enjoyed to album greatly. I'd easily recommend it to others, and, in fact, have already lent it to a few people. I've seen it at Walmart for $10. It's worth that easily. Go out and pick up a copy for yourself. // 9

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overall: 9
Thank You, Happy Birthday Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 19, 2011
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: First off, if you only like "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked," then this album is not for you. The band did a lot of exploration and experimentation on this album. A true comparison between Thank You Happy Birthday and their self-titled debut is difficult to make, since the sound is so markedly different. To a listener who is open to change, the music on this album is solid and fun to listen to. The mix of early Nirvana grunge and indie pop makes for an aural adventure that will not leave you feeling like you listened to the same song 12 times. // 9

Lyrics: Shultz does not always sing perfectly on key; this is fact. Yet the imperfection in his singing probably fits the music better than singing right on all the time, and with the Auto-Tune temptation out there, you have to applaud him for not using it. One of the best things about Cage the Elephant is their lyrics, as they are often provacative and insightful. The song "Indie Kidz" has the most profound lyrics, and much of the lyrics on the rest of the album are uplifting and reminiscent. The story-telling method of "Ain't No Rest" is used in the first track, "Always Something," taking listeners back to the first album. Discounting "Japanese Water Buffalo" and "Saber Tooth Tiger," in which the lyrics are simply silly and fun, the other tracks all have lyrics that many people can relate to in one way or another. // 9

Overall Impression: The profound difference in style from their previous album will leave many listeners unsatisfied. However, I found it refreshing that the band sort of felt like "Been there, done that," and moved on to a new idea. My favorite songs would have to be Aberdeen, Around My Head, and Shake Me Down, although I would simply prefer to listen to the album as a whole, because it paints a very vast musical landscape. On the first listen, I felt a little betrayed, but it grew on me and now I'd say I can't compare the two albums because it sounds like I'm listening to two different bands, which I give as a sincere compliment. // 9

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overall: 9.7
Thank You, Happy Birthday Reviewed by: hiwaychild1, on january 19, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: After working for about two years on this album, I'd say Cage the Elephant blew it out of the water. I saw very many videos and interviews about them trying to find a new sound. I think they achieved it, considering their music completely evolved from the last album. CTE seemed to find a new comfort in effects... They used ALOT. Their set list included: Always Something, Aberdeen, Indy kidz, 2024, Sell yourself, Rubber Ball, Right Before my Eyes, Sabertooth Tiger, Japanese Buffalo, and Flow. I thought it was a little bit of a cheap move though that Flow started off pretty good and then it pauses and melts into another version of "right before my eyes." but it doesn't really bother me that much. I just like to think that I got an extra free song! // 9

Lyrics: I think all of the lyrics that Cage The Elephant writes are a genius. They all are cleverly and masterfully writtin. You can tell that Matt puts alot of time and effort into this section. His singing seems to be slightly lacking though, just because hes singing/chanting so fast; hes taking too much time breathing and not enough time pumping lyrics. // 10

Overall Impression: Cage the Elephant has always been one of my favorite bands and they've always been unique with their own style of indie rock. I think in this new album though, they seemed to shoot for a different sound. I seperated their songs into two different groups: there's the up-beat, Apocalyptic type like "sell Yourself", and theres the slow, lullaby type llike "rubber ball". They seem to have focused on really defining these two methods of music. I love all of CTE's music and will definately be looking for the next album and I give an oath now that if anyone scratches my cd, I will rip out their eyes! // 10

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