100 Best Songs of the 2010s – #30: “Social Cues” by Cage the Elephant

We’ve now reached the rarefied top 30 of my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s, and the song at #30 is “Social Cues” by American rock band Cage the Elephant. With their wonderful bluesy style of alternative/indie/garage rock, they’ve been one of my favorite bands of the past decade. My love and devotion for them became even stronger when they liked several of my tweets and then actually followed me on Twitter!

“Social Cues” is the second of three songs by them on this list, with “Trouble” already having made an appearance at #78. Originally from Bowling Green, Kentucky and now based in Nashville, the band currently consists of lead vocalist Matt Shultz, his brother Matt on rhythm guitar, Nick Bockrath on lead guitar, Matthan Minster on guitar and keyboards, Daniel Tichenor on bass and Jared Champion on drums.

The title track from their fifth studio album Social Cues, “Social Cues” was released in July 2019, and now ranks among my favorites of their many great songs. The bouncy tempo is incredibly catchy, with a terrific bass line and guitars, and those chirpy synths are irresistible. But what I love most of all are Matt Shultz’s wonderful distinctive vocals that always sound so genuine. The rather poignant lyrics speak to the anxieties and insecurities of being a rock star: “Hide me in the back room, tell me when it’s over. Don’t know if I can play this part much longer. I don’t know if it is right to live this way, yeah. I’ll be in the back room, tell me when it’s over. People always say, ‘Man, at least you’re on the radio’.” The song’s production and arrangement are flawless.