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Many of my friends will give me grief for this review. Until the release of Melophobia, I loathed Cage the Elephant. Their previous songs were so unbearably cheesy to me that I dismissed this album the second it was announced. Fortunately, my friends are a bit more forgiving than I am and coaxed me into listening. Thank you, friends.

For an album that claims a “fear of music,” Melophobia is surprisingly musical. The melodies are rich (“Take It or Leave It”), the structures are bold and captivating (“Spiderhead” and “Teeth”), the arrangements are fearless (horns?!), and the overall tone is consistent and appropriate. Perhaps Melophobia is an ironically self-aware title that refers to the band's vapid musical history? (I still can't listen to “Ain't No Rest for the Wicked” without groaning.) Who cares? Melophobia is a colorful and rewarding redemption.

Despite its successes, however, Melophobia is not flawless. Matthew Shultz' lyrics, though more personal, occasionally fall into cliché and the band still struggles to escape the realm of cheesy butt-rock on songs like “It's Just Forever.” Taken as a whole, though, these problems are easily overlooked. Melophobia is sharp, progressive, and has made a fan out of me.

  • Album: Melophobia
  • Artist: Cage the Elephant
  • Label: RCA
  • Songs: (1) Spiderhead (2) Come A Little Closer (3) Telescope (4) It's Just Forever (5) Take It Or Leave It (6) Halo (7) Black Widow (8) Hypocrite (9) Teeth (10) Cigarette Daydreams
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