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Cage the Elephant, ‘Aberdeen’ – Song Review

Cage the Elephant
Jive/Universal

‘Aberdeen’ is the new single from Cage the Elephant, but it’s also the name of the town in Washington where late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain grew up. Think that could be a coincidence? Think again.

For starters, ‘Aberdeen’ sounds like an homage to (some might say blatant rip-off of) a song by the Pixies, the indie-rock darlings that Cobain said he was blatantly ripping off when he wrote Nirvana’s biggest hit, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’

That Pixies song in question would be ‘Where Is My Mind,’ although flourishes of the guitars and bass mimic tunes from throughout the Pixies’ discography. The end of ‘Aberdeen’ even finds Cage’s Matt Shultz doing his best impersonation of Pixies singer Frank Black’s trademark pained bark.

Then there’s the lyrics. With lines like the Cobain-esque “You burned me once again,” and “Back and forth, bloody fingers” (the first part taken straight from Nirvana’s ‘Drain You’), plus “Cut the cord, she’s a creep” (‘Negative Creep,’ anyone?), listeners could be forgiven for drawing parallels to a certain multiplatinum trio that helped put the Seattle grunge scene on the map.

But Cage the Elephant do manage to put their own slant on things. Shultz keeps his distinct cadence, in which he spits lyrics out (kinda like Frank Black, actually) with a slight Southern drawl. Cage are from Kentucky, after all, and while you can drive to Seattle from there, it is a good 2,000 miles away.

‘Aberdeen,’ is the third single off Cage the Elephant’s second album, ‘Thank You, Happy Birthday,’ which has already spawned the No. 1 rock hit ‘Shake Me Down.’ The band’s self-titled first disc hit big on the back of the anti-anthem ‘Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,’ and the buzz has yet to subside.

While ‘Aberdeen’ isn’t going to make the band as big as Nirvana were, it is a catchy indie-pop nugget and a proper homage to Cobain’s home town. That, and a damn good Pixies rip-off.

Listen to Cage the Elephant, ‘Aberdeen’

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