Cage The Elephant's Matt Shultz Reveals Personal Meaning Behind 'Neon Pill'

By Sarah Tate

May 21, 2024

Cage the Elephant is back with their first album in five years, and lead singer Matt Shultz is sharing his personal story and connection to the project's title.

Shultz made the revelation while celebrating the Cage the Elephant's sixth studio album Neon Pill during an exclusive iHeartRadio Album Release party in virtual reality on Monday (May 20) only in Meta Horizon Worlds. Throughout the night, the band performed some of its biggest hits from past albums as well as several songs from the new album, their first since 2019's Social Cues.

Cage the Elephant kicked off the lengthy set with the song "Social Cues," Matt hyping up the crowd as he sang that he doesn't "know if I can play this part much longer" and that he doesn't "know if it is right to live this way." The group then moved onto "Neon Pill," the titular track from their newest project and one that holds significance for the singer.

Speaking to iHeartRadio's Ted Stryker, Matt explained why the band decided on Neon Pill being the right choice to title the album, and it has a personal connection to his recent struggles.

"I definitely went through a really difficult time where I was prescribed a medication and unknowingly went into psychosis — it can happen, it's a terrible thing if it does — but I'm a living miracle right now, so that's probably the biggest reason why we chose that as the title track," Matt said.

As for the album itself, Matt's brother and fellow band member Brad Shultz joked that it "easiest record we ever made" when asked if the process was more or less difficult than previous albums.

"Every record has its journey and this was the longest amount of time it took us to make a record, but it was meant to be what it was," said Brad. Matt added that the band "had a lot of starts and stops but when we actually started making the record, it was maybe a month and we were done."

Matt also shared a story behind the inspiration for another new track, "Out Loud," revealing that it's actually about an "apology song" that his dad wrote for his own father after getting into an explosive, "almost cinematic" argument.

The band then played through two of its biggest songs, with the crowd launching into immediate cheers as they began playing "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" from their debut self-titled album released in 2008. They kept the energy going into the next song, and arguably one of their most popular, "Cigarette Daydreams" from 2013's Melophobia.

Matt also gave some insight into the cover art for the new album, saying that the cover was chosen "instantaneously" and that the band, who is getting ready for a tour this summer, knew it was the right choice for the new era as soon as they saw it.

Another notable moment came when the band performed "Trouble," from the 2015 album Tell Me I'm Pretty, a track about the struggles Matt's been through over the course of his life. Before he sang the chorus one last time, Brad gave him a kiss on the cheek, taking the mic after the song was over to say how much he loves his "little brother" and to praise him for how he's handled his past difficulties.

"He's handled what he went through with so much grace, and I love him," Brad said, before jokingly saying he was crying behind his sunglasses.

Cage the Elephant finished their exciting set with several more songs, from older tracks like "Come A Little Closer," "Cold Cold Cold," "Skin and Bones" and "Shake Me Down" to brand new songs from their latest project, including "Rainbow," "HiFi (True Light)," and ending the night, fittingly, with "Good Time."

Neon Pill is available to stream on

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