Cage The Elephant’s EP: Goodbye/ Ready to Let Go/ Night Running/ House of Glass seems to be their display of their sound expanding. I was surprised to listen to the sullen Goodbye track- there was no ounce of playfulness that usually underlies many Cage The Elephant songs. It is a sad, simple lullaby- there is a constant buzzing, and bass strings in the background, and it just doesn’t sound like them. Had I not known Matt Shultz’s (vocalist) singing so well, I would have never guessed.
“My heart’s an ashtray and l lost my mind
You bring the smokes, I’ve got the time”
The next track, Ready to Let Go seems to have the witty, charming, upbeat personality of Cage The Elephant that is so signature of them. It’s almost symbolic of the story continuing: the character has regained the character, and strength that was lost in Goodbye.
It acts like the intentional sequel to the grieving of Goodbye. Lyrics that stood out to me in Ready to Let Go:
“As we slow dance, I became your statue frozen
Times I wonder, are we just a puff of smoke? Yeah.
Underneath this bed of ashes, still withholding everything
Like we were never close”
I love that there is emotional progression from one track to the next, and this metaphor of smoke/ash goes from something incredibly significant to something that is actually fleeting. Also think of what smoking does. A cigarette can help calm the nerves of an addict; provide a fix. Marijuana may do the same, and also provide a distorted sense of reality, maybe make you laugh a lot or sleep peacefully.
This person is being burnt by their unrequited love, even though it’s painful, they want it to happen. The name of the song, Goodbye is ironic, and they might be trying to convince themselves to move on. Especially with how many times it is repeated.
Ready to Let Go seems much more mature, the character in the song is actually gaining hindsight, and isn’t going to willingly be a victim. He also is “withholding everything”- perhaps resentment that he allowed the “ashes” to build up on him (he is the ashtray in Goodbye). This whole drama that is hurtful is really a puff of smoke that wasn’t worth being burned for.