Cage's guitarist Brad Shultz had been listening to a lot of Jay Reatard and was inspired to write the riff for "Mess Around." Brad was unconvinced that it fit on the record, but after his brother and lead singer, Matt Shultz heard him playing the riff nonchalantly he pushed him to continue writing the song. The band recorded the song in one day and took it into the studio, where The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach admitted he loved it - he even did the solo on the track.
Matt Shultz delivers the vocals on "Mess Around" with the utmost sense of melody as fuzzed-out guitars collide with a foot-stomping beat that ultimately make the track just another example of blues-pop mimicry - made infamous by the album's producer, Auerbach. It's no wonder Cage the Elephant decided to employ Auerbach's production, he knows exactly what is relevant to the taste of mainstream listeners, however he can't produce a record without it sounding characteristically his - the underlying organ, the sleazy hook-ladden style of the whole song.
At least the song's got a groovy beat and throwback surf-rock riff that makes it enjoyable to listen to. Just don't close your eyes and listen, you might think it's The Black Keys.