Cage The Elephant “Neon Pill” – Album Review

Written by on June 3, 2024

Review by Emily Rabeno – 


If you know the songs “Cigarette Daydreams” (2013) and “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” (2008), then you might know the Kentucky made rock and alternative band Cage The Elephant. Cage The Elephant is made up of six members and has been releasing music since 2006. Their most recent album release was on May 17th 2024 with the name of Neon Pill. This album is made up of 12 tracks and is 38 minutes long. Each track in the album is the same but serves something different.

“Neon Pill” (2024), “Out Loud” (2024), “Good Time” (2024) and “Metaverse” (2024) were all released as singles leading up to the album. “Neon Pill,” “Metaverse” and “Good Time” are good songs that fit the project and sound exactly what they were going for in the album. But “Out Loud” wasn’t, and isn’t many peoples favorites. The slow ballad song in the middle of the album just doesn’t do much for the album… However, all the songs in this album have a similar meaning with mental struggle. Maybe if “Out Loud” was set to a different sound, it might be better. 

Starting off with the first track on the album: “HiFi (True Light)” (2024) is very different yet similar to previous albums Cage The Elephant has released. This song is very upbeat and catchy. But as always with a Cage The Elephant, song there’s a deeper meaning with it. The beginning of the song, singer Matthew Shultz begins describing how his days are turning into nights. With being up always, this can take a toll on someone’s body as shown with the lyric “circles under my eyes” throughout the song. There’s themes of being in a euphoric mood and a sense of being detached from the world. The whole song shows how low and fragile one’s mental state is. Even still, the chorus shows how they narrator discovers how much of a struggle it is to find yourself with everything that’s going on around them. 

Next is one of my favorites so far: “Rainbow” (2024), both the music and lyrics, makes it my favorite. This is a very uplifting song about the special people in someone’s life who are always there for them to lift their spirits. One of my favorite lyrics in the song is “You are more vibrant than the technicolor flower bloom / Worth more than any sunset that I ever even knew.” This lyric describes how a person close to the singer is the most beautiful thing in the world and nothing could be prettier or change the way for how they feel about this special person.

The fourth track, “Float Into The Sky” (2024), shows the singer finding his way to take a step back and to take some moments to themselves. “I just float into the sky, I just float into my mind” are the lyrics that stand out the most throughout this whole song. The song itself has an amazing sound to it, it’s very catchy and this tune fits Shultz’s voice. 

For the next and seventh track, “Ball and Chain” (2024), I have quite cracked the code to this song yet. I do like this song because it’s upbeat and fast-paced. Upbeat songs have strong, consistent rhythms that naturally encourage the body to move in time with the beat. Listening to this song just makes my ears happy. 

Track number nine, “Shy Eyes” (2024) delves into the complexities of human emotions and relationships. The song begins with the imagery of a broken heart and broken chains, symbolizing past pain and the desire for liberation. The lines “Take these wrongs, make them right” and “Unclothe my eyes with waves of light” suggest a longing for healing and clarity. The consistent mention of “shy eyes” throughout the song raises questions about the true nature of the person they are addressing and whether they have been relegated to a mere afterthought in their life.

“Silent Picture” (2024) is about the emotional struggle to piece together a fractured reality. The lyrics paint a vivid picture of a man standing at the bottom of a staircase, trying to make sense of his life. The chorus, with its repeated lines “I can hardly breathe, I can’t breathe,” captures the suffocating feeling of being overwhelmed by emotions. The protagonist’s plea to not talk about it or think about it, and his desire for the world to disappear, reflects a desperate need to escape from the pain. This sense of wanting to vanish is further emphasized by the lines “I’ll just rest in peace, bury me,” indicating a longing for an end to the suffering.

The next track, “Same” (2024), is about having a moment that feels almost magical, described as “lightning in a bottle” and “frantic in a bubble.” These metaphors suggest a brief, intense experience.  With the repeated line “Will we ever be the same?” underscores a sense of uncertainty and yearning. The repetition of the line “Did you ever stop to think about it?” acts as an emotional symbol of the reflection needed to comprehend the complexity of relationships. It suggests that both parties need to reflect on their actions and feelings to determine if they can move beyond the magic of their initial connection. 

The last track, ”Over your shoulder” (2024) is another slower song found on this album. The phrase, “Every season will pass” suggests the nature of difficulties, encouraging resilience and patience through changing circumstances. The line “Don’t look back over your shoulder” advises against dwelling on the past, promoting forward movement and letting go. The beat and the rhythm of this song make it not feel so gloomy. 

After dissecting all the songs on Neon Pill, I’m even more excited to see Cage The Elephant perform live at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey. Now knowing the background behind these songs, allows me to have a deeper connection to the music and the lyrics in the songs. 

Check out Cage The Elephant’s tour dates on their official website here!

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