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Cage the Elephant Melophobia.jpg
Studio album by Cage the Elephant
Released October 8, 2013
Recorded 2012–2013 at St. Charles, Nashville, Tennessee
Genre Alternative rock, garage rock, psychedelic rock
Length 37:23
Label RCA
Producer Jay Joyce
Cage the Elephant chronology
Thank You, Happy Birthday
(2011)Thank You, Happy Birthday2011
Tell Me I'm Pretty
(2015)Tell Me I'm Pretty2015
Singles from Melophobia
  1. "Come a Little Closer"
    Released: August 13, 2013
  2. "Take It or Leave It"
    Released: March 24, 2014
  3. "Cigarette Daydreams"
    Released: August 26, 2014

Melophobia is the third studio album by American rock band Cage the Elephant. Recorded at St. Charles in Nashville, Tennessee and produced by Jay Joyce, the album was released on October 8, 2013, through RCA Records. It is also the final album that features lead guitarist Lincoln Parish.


For Melophobia, Cage the Elephant attempted to distance themselves from comparisons of the sound that influenced them, shutting themselves off from as much recorded music as possible.[1] Melophobia means "fear of music"; the band did not view the term literally, but rather thought of the term as "a fear of creating music to project premeditated images of self, like catering to cool, or making music to project an image of being intellectual or artistic or poetic, rather than just trying to be an honest communicator."[2][3]

Frontman Matthew Shultz viewed the record as a battle "to remain transparent and to remain honest." Isaac Brock (frontman of Modest Mouse) once told his friend Tiger Merritt (of Morning Teleportation) that "if you're not slightly embarrassed to sing the lyrics, you're probably not writing a good song," and encouraged him to refrain from attempting to write poetically but rather naturally. Shultz said this made sense to him.[1][3] When writing new tracks, Shultz would often doodle an image alongside his lyrics for visual reference.[3]


"Come a Little Closer" was inspired by a morning in which Shultz woke up in a São Paulo hotel and opened his window to watch the sunrise over the favelas. Finding the makeshift housing comparable to an anthill, he soon found himself wondering what each soul inside each borough felt, whether it be heartache, love, loss or joy.[3] Shultz viewed "Telescope" as the breakthrough song in writing honestly; he based it on his loneliness. During a bout of seasonal depression, he spent time in his new home for the first time after nonstop touring and found himself "doing life's meaningless tasks to fill the void to pass the time", including obsessively decorating and feeling obligated to spend time in each room.[1] Black Widow features the usage of brass horns which Brad had been anxious to use for a while, however Matt was against the inclusion of such instrumentation which would eventually lead to a "big argument" [4]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 73/100[5]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[6]
Alternative Press 3.5/5 stars[7]
Consequence of Sound C+[8]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[9]
Paste 8.0/10[10]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[11]
USA Today 3.5/4 stars[12]

Melophobia has received positive reviews from contemporary music critics. Brian Mansfield of USA Today designated it "Album of the Week," summarizing that "Melophobia may mean 'fear of music,' but there's nothing to be afraid of: Its glorious chaos makes for thrilling listening."[12] While August Brown of the Los Angeles Times viewed Melophobia as "a bit more stoned and mellow" than its predecessor, "they're in a class of their own [...] Let's just be glad to have such imagination on our drive time rock radio again."[9] Holly Gleason of Paste described the album as "post-modern glam revival," praising Jay Joyce's production and opining that "Melophobia is united in both the urgency of the performances and the seemingly toxic love affairs that populate these songs."[10] Rolling Stone's Jon Dolan considered the record a combination of "Sixties garage rock, Seventies punk and Eighties alt-rock into excellently weird new shapes."[11] Doug McCausland of Alternative Nation said Melophobia was Cage's strongest record at the time.[13]

Alternative Press's Jason Schreurs wrote that Melophobia "is, at its best, ambitious and teeming with ideas and, at worst, one heck of a mish-mash of sounds."[7]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at No. 15 on the Billboard 200 albums chart on its first week of release,[14] with around 18,000 copies sold in the United States. It also debuted at No. 6 on both the Top Rock Albums[15] and the Alternative Albums charts.[16] As of October 2015, the album has sold 174,000 copies in the US.[17]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Spiderhead" 3:42
2. "Come a Little Closer" 3:49
3. "Telescope" 3:48
4. "It's Just Forever" (featuring Alison Mosshart) 3:30
5. "Take It or Leave It" 3:27
6. "Halo" 2:57
7. "Black Widow" 3:07
8. "Hypocrite" 4:08
9. "Teeth" 5:27
10. "Cigarette Daydreams" 3:28



Chart (2013) Peak
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[18] 21
US Billboard 200[19] 15
US Top Alternative Albums (Billboard)[20] 6
US Top Hard Rock Albums (Billboard)[21] 3
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[22] 6
US Top Tastemaker Albums (Billboard)[23] 5


  1. ^ a b c John Gentile (October 7, 2013). "Cage the Elephant's Matt Shultz on Melophobia and Loneliness". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 9, 2013. 
  2. ^ James Montgomery (October 8, 2013). "Cage The Elephant Get Fearless On Melophobia". MTV News. Retrieved October 9, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d Chris Rutledge (October 7, 2013). "Cage The Elephant Talk Melophobia, "Come A Little Closer," Songwriting". American Songwriter. Retrieved October 9, 2013. 
  4. ^ Bosso, Joe. "Cage The Elephant's Matt & Brad Shultz talk Melophobia track-by-track". p. 8. Retrieved 3 January 2016. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Jeffries, David. "Melophobia – Cage the Elephant". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Jason Schreurs (October 8, 2013). "Cage the Elephant - Melophobia". Alternative Press. Retrieved October 9, 2013. 
  8. ^ Geffen, Sasha (October 10, 2013). "Album Review: Cage The Elephant - Melophobia". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved October 10, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b August Brown (October 7, 2013). "Album review: Cage the Elephant's Melophobia". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 9, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Holly Gleason (October 8, 2013). "Cage the Elephant: Melophobia". Paste. Retrieved October 9, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Jon Dolan (October 8, 2013). "Cage the Elephant - Melophobia". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 9, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Brian Mansfield (October 8, 2013). "Album of the week: Cage the Elephant's Melophobia". USA Today. Retrieved October 9, 2013. 
  13. ^ Doug McCausland (October 1, 2013). "Cage the Elephant - Melophobia Review". AlternativeNation. Archived from the original on October 19, 2013. Retrieved October 15, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Billboard 200". Billboard. October 26, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Top Rock Albums". Billboard. October 26, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Alternative Albums". Billboard. October 26, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Upcoming Releases". Hits Daily Double. HITS Digital Ventures. Archived from the original on November 24, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Cage the Elephant Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard.
  19. ^ "Cage the Elephant Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  20. ^ "Cage the Elephant Chart History (Top Alternative Albums)". Billboard.
  21. ^ "Cage the Elephant Chart History (Top Hard Rock Albums)". Billboard.
  22. ^ "Cage the Elephant Chart History (Top Rock Albums)". Billboard.
  23. ^ "Cage the Elephant Chart History (Top Tastemaker Albums)". Billboard.