Cage The Elephant didn't mean to cause confusion with "Melophobia," the title of the Kentucky alt rockers' third album.
"By definition melophobia means fear of music," acknowledges frontman Matt Shultz, "but in this instance it's not necessarily a fear of music in general so much as it is a fear of creating fear-based music or music that you make because you want to be perceived in a certain way.
"As human beings there's an overwhelming allure to create music to be perceived as intellectual or brilliant or commercial rather than just trying to be a good communicator. Words like beautiful or artistic or poetic, I suppose they're true things but it puts a damper on the whole creative process. So for us, melophobia is kind of like a fear of creating music to project an image rather than to communicate something."
CTE's fans certainly perceived "Melophobia" as something they like. The album debuted at No. 15 on the Billboard 200 and in the Top 10 of the Alternative and Rock Albums charts. The single "Come a Little Closer," meanwhile, hit No. 1 on the Alternative Songs chart, the fourth time CTE has hit that mark.
"We were playing Lollapalooza in South America, and from our hotel in Sao Paolo (Brazil) you could look over at the hillside across from the city and there were all these little houses made out of tarp and scrap metal and various recycled things," Shultz, 30, recalls. "At first glance it looked like an anthill, like some kind of burrow made by a creature that I wasn't familiar with.
"Then it occurred to me that inside there's little living spaces with people and lives and hope sand dreams and heartache and love and joy. It's like, 'Oh, wow, there's lives that are there. So it was like the closer you are to something, your perspective changes, so that's where the whole concept of the song started to take shape, lyrically."
Cage The Elephant, IAMDYNAMITE, Blue October and Foals perform at the Night 89X Stole Christmas on Tuesday, Dec. 17, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $25-$45. Call 313-961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.
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