Broken Boy (feat. Iggy Pop) by Cage The Elephant

High Notes

By Ron Powers

Broken Boy (feat. Iggy Pop) by Cage The Elephant

If I’m being honest, I’ve never been particularly drawn to the band known as Cage The Elephant. For one reason or another I never got around to giving them a fair shake since they released their first album back in 2008. Well, all that changed when I heard that the “Godfather of Punk” (Iggy Pop) was featured on a new version of their song “Broken Boy”.

“Broken Boy” first appeared on Cage The Elephant’s fifth studio album (Social Cues) and did not originally feature Iggy Pop. Although this collaboration didn’t result in any serious musical changes to the original song, the addition of Iggy’s lead vocal on the second verse and his background vocals on the choruses has given an already good song an unmistakable increase in weight and power.

Iggy Pop sounds like the legend that he is on this track. The quality of his vocal performance has much to do with this, but credit must also be granted to producer John Hill and mixing engineer Tom Elmhirst. These two cooked up some of the coolest vocal effects Iggy’s voice has ever been processed with. Pop’s vocals have multiple in-your-face slap delays which are soaked to the bone with the best sounding distortion my ears have ever heard. I can’t remember a time I was more impressed with the sound of a vocal.

The production quality and musical arrangement of “Broken Boy” floored me. The various tones of guitar, lead guitar, bass, synth, and drums combined to create a sound that feels both futuristic and timeless. The subtle atmospheric synth textures give the song its gritty and cutting-edge feel. While staccato guitar chords enforce a vintage charm that reminds me of The Rolling Stones mixed with surf rock. The snap and pop of the drum beat mixes well with the round blown-out fuzz bass and gives “Broken Boy” a focused and muscular feel. As a whole, the song emits a vibe that is both wild and tame, chaotic and focused.

As the song title implies, “Broken Boy” is about, well… brokenness. The band expresses this with metaphoric lines like “I was burned by the cold kiss of a vampire” and “I was bit by the whisper of a soft liar”. Lines like these give voice to some very real pain but Cage The Elephant stays true to the spirit of punk rock in that they don’t wallow. Instead they drape that pain in poetry and rock-n-roll attitude. This is what rock music has done so well over the years. Namely communicate a truth that runs deeper than our troubles.

It’s taken me a while to realize how talented Cage The Elephant actually is. I highly recommend you have a listen. You can find their music at most places music is streamed or sold. If you’d like to learn more about the band you can find them at cagetheelephant.com. You can also find them on Instagram Twitter and Facebook. The band is currently on tour and have dates booked through mid-July of 2020. You can learn more about the tour and if they’re coming to your town on their website.

About the Author: Ron Powers is an independent A&R specialist and music industry consultant and is constantly searching for, discovering and writing about new talent in all genres.

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