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Music / Cage the Elephant

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You just know they are up to no good...
Cage The Elephant is an American Alternative Rock band from Bowling Green, Kentucky. Since their founding in 2006 (as an offshoot of Perfect Confusion, a band in which many of the members previously played), Cage The Elephant has gained popularity in the US and UK indie scenes for their energetic sound and live performances. Their sound is a blend of Punk Rock and Blues Rock and they are often classified as part of the 2000s garage rock revival. The band came to prominence with their hit single "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked" (used as the title music in Borderlands), and have followed up with several more.

Current Line-up:

  • Matt Schultz- vocals
  • Brad Schultz- guitar
  • Jared Champion- drums
  • Daniel Tichenor- bass
  • Nick Bockrath- lead guitar(2017-present)
  • Matthan Minster- keyboards(2017-present)

Former Members:

  • Lincoln Parish- lead guitar(2006-2013)


  • Cage The Elephant (2008)
  • Thank You, Happy Birthday (2011)
  • Melophobia (2013)
  • Tell Me I'm Pretty (2015)
  • Unpeeled (acoustic live album, 2017)
  • Social Cues (2019)
  • Neon Pill (2024)

Ain't No Tropes For The Wicked:

  • American Gothic Couple: The music video for "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" has an old couple dressed similarly to the American Gothic couple, complete with the pitchfork.
  • Animated Music Video: The video for 'Aberdeen' is animated with beautiful Stop Motion.
  • Anti-Love Song: "Around My Head". Well, sort of.
  • Anti-Villain: In "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked", the character sings about people who did really crooked things for money (a woman who does prostitution, an armed thief, and a corrupt priest). He comes to the conclusion that they, like himself, had bills to pay.
  • Careful with That Axe:
    • "In One Ear" and "Free Love" both have Matt screaming his head off before the final chorus.
    • "Sabretooth Tiger" has Matt doing this for the entire chorus.
    • One might have figured Matt had multiple pairs of legs on "Japanese Buffalo".
  • Cover Version: On EPs and in live versions, they've covered "False Skorpion" (Pavement), "Kids" (MGMT), "Monkey Disease" (Iodine), "Psycho Killer" (Talking Heads), and "All Apologies" (Nirvana).
  • Cynicism Catalyst: "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" has an example, with the protagonist coming home after being approached by a prostitute, and shortly afterwards robbed. He turns on the TV, and what should he see but a preacher getting arrested for stealing from the church, making him realize that we're all the same -- oh yes, we all seek out to satisfy those thrills.
  • Death by Music Video: "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked" has the band's car exploding with all of the band members on it, seemingly killing them.
  • Dying Dream: The music video for "Shake Me Down".
  • Hot-Blooded
  • Hollywood Satanism: The "Cold Cold Cold" music video combines this aesthetic with a creepy medical aesthetic.
  • Lighter and Softer: "Melophobia" may not seem like a totally light album, but that's before you listen to "Thank You Happy Birthday".
  • Money Song: "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked", the prostitute, mugger, and preacher were doing their wicked deeds motivated all by money to "pay for the bills". The preacher might have been doing it more out of Greed.
  • New Sound Album: All of them, really. To wit:
    • Thank You, Happy Birthday is rawer and more abrasive than their debut. It is often compared to the The Pixies.
    • Melophobia goes headlong into an indie sound largely inspired, according to Matt, by David Bowie and EDM.
    • Tell Me I'm Pretty takes a dive headfirst into a gritty '60s garage rock and rock-and-roll-inspired sound, though this shouldn't be surprising considering it was produced by Dan Auerbach.
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: The video for "Around My Head".
  • Precision F-Strike: At the end of the "Around My Head" video and the aforementioned "In One Ear".
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "Back Stabbin' Betty" centers on a woman who constantly hammers her man with undeserved examples:
    You're a no, good, lazy motherfucker
    Got a, shit job you worthless motherfucker
    You're a, a dead beat, feel sorry for your mother
    If I had time, I'd trade you for another
  • Self-Titled Album: Their very first studio album is titled Cage the Elephant.
  • Something Something Leonard Bernstein: Once the main part of "Japanese Buffalo" kicks in, it's very hard to make out anything but the "HA HA HA AND OH HO HO" near the middle of the verse until the pause. One might think Matt is having an attack while he's singing. Even the liner notes lampshade this by having halt the song's official lyrics be a long string of question marks.
  • Stalker with a Crush: "It's Just Forever". Even in death, you say?
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Shiver", the acoustic version of "Right Before My Eyes". "Flow" and "Rubber Ball" also count.
    • "Flow" counts doubly as it also has a surprisingly gentle and very minimalistic music video.
  • Take That!: "Indy Kidz" is a jab at Hipsters.
  • Take That, Critics!: "In One Ear." Well, more of a "Screw You" than a "Take That," but still a bit of a Take That.
    People talkin' shit / They can kiss the back of my hand!
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Played for laughs with "Japanese Buffalo" where the lyrics are purposely slurred.