DNCE- “Cake By The Ocean” Review: Sleazy As Sexy

Poring over the pop charts every day can be tedious and tiring. To begin with, I’m a rock man myself, and there’s not too much rock on the charts these days. Even the rock charts are filled with songs that aren’t actually rock, or songs from fifty years ago. That’s not a joke, either. There are four songs by The Beatles on the rock charts this week. Nothing against The Beatles (one was even “Come Together,” my favorite Beatles song), but we need a breath of fresh air to come and revitalize rock.

Lo and behold!, our rock saviors have descended upon us in the form of… Joe Jonas?! Yes, Joe Jonas-fronted band DNCE is the topic of discussion today, but don’t let the Jonas name trick you; this is basically an early Maroon 5 song, if Maroon 5 hadn’t been fronted by one of the worst vocalists of the generation.

I often feel that, when you hate a song, you do need to be able to explain why, while if you love a song, the “why” can often be indescribable. Such is not the case with “Cake by the Ocean.” It’s one of those songs that wouldn’t work if even one piece was out of place, but because they managed to get everything right, it plays out beautifully.

First, they chose to bring the bass into focus with one of the tightest basslines in pop music. As a bassist myself, I always enjoy when the instrument gets the chance to take the spotlight, but it definitely deserves the chance in this instance. It gives the song a funky flavor that really makes the song danceable. Then, they used the guitar as more of an accent instrument. In fact, the next time you listen to the song, look for the guitar. It doesn’t play a single chord until the bridge, instead allowing the bass to carry the entire first verse. Doing so allows the bassline to get engraved into your mind, letting it take over as the dominant while the guitar is content to be more subdued until the chorus punches in.

And let us not forget the drums. The drums perfectly match the bass, working in tandem to create one of the greatest rhythms of the year. I just… I love it all so much. I don’t even mind continuously playing the song while I write this article. I’m kinda half-dancing the whole time and looking like a moron. The beat is just such an earworm, I can’t help it.

And that’s without even mentioning the overwhelming presence of Joe Jonas. I was a Disney Channel kid, and I was a teenager while The Jonas Brothers were a mega-popular teeny-bopper band, so naturally I had quite a bit of contact with their music. I’m here to tell you, right now, that Joe was always the most talented brother. He has a voice with a wide range, allowing him to sing all kinds of songs and be amazing. His regular pitch is perfectly suited to this kind of rock, with a tone that’s suave but just a bit sleazy. When the chorus starts and he has to hit those higher notes, he’s perfectly capable of doing so.

The Following Paragraph is NSFW. All Sentences NSFW Will be Written in White, and Need Highlighting to be Read.

Lyrically, the song is just as metaphorically raunchy as the music it’s influenced by. There seems to be some sort of contention about what the song is about, so here’s my personal interpretation. This song is about a girl Joe likes that won’t do anything with him in bed. He’s talking to her, trying to convince her to “live dangerously” and “eat cake by the ocean,” which sounds like a euphemism for giving him a blow job, with lines like “eat icing off your hands” supporting this. Apparently, it could also mean the opposite, with him proposing she let him eat her out. Regardless, it’s all very well-written and conveys the sleazy mood of the song amazingly, while allowing some interpretation. There was no point in the song where I thought a line didn’t work, or thought it was completely stupid, which is pretty rare.

All in all, this song is one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had listening to pop music. It’s just a fun, danceable song with great musicians behind it, and a positively explosive performance by Joe Jonas. If you’re at all interested in music, you should definitely give this song a listen or fifty.

Genre: Pop-rock; funk; disco

Billboard Rank at Time of Writing: 41


The Chainsmokers (feat. ROZES)-“Roses” Review: Why?

“Roses” is no different than any other EDM club jam, except in one major way; somehow, it reached No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. This is not where this song belongs, in any way. This is purely dance music, with no other possible way to enjoy this atrocity. How this ended up as an actual hit song blows my mind.

I’ll admit to coming into this review with a fair amount of bias. I’ve never been a fan of EDM, as I feel it is a soulless genre, filled with people who have mastered the technical art of music but never had the true passion for it. The Chainsmokers don’t even have that going for them, though, as you’d know if you ever heard their previous “viral” hit, “#Selfie,” an abysmal waste of time equal to forcefully running a cheese grater over your ears for four minutes.

My problems with “Roses” are different from the problems I had with “#Selfie,” though. For one, this song doesn’t seem to be sending me subliminal messages to kill myself. “Roses” is far too bland for that, with a drum beat that hasn’t been fresh since the 60’s dominating the brunt of the song. The lyrics to the song are at least sung, as well, and not a disgusting cash in on a trend of the times.

No, the biggest problem with this song is the synthesizer breakdown. It bleats out in stagnant notes so forceful it would vibrate even the best speakers at medium volume levels. It happens more than once across the song, as well, seeming to be the main reason for the song’s existence. The synthesizer just drones on like that for something around thirty seconds at a time, and it just baffles me. No human ear could ever find that song pleasing.

Past that, a trend common in EDM is to take a bite of the vocalist’s performance, just a single note, and use it like a chord, repeated ad infinitum across the song. It does nothing but remind me that ROZES could actually be singing something more, had you left enough room for her to do so. The “ah ah-ah-ah-ah-ah ah ah-ah ah-ah-ah-ah-ah” noise is not fun or interesting.

ROZES is actually a good presence on the song. She has a nice, willowy voice that I would love to hear more of. She does slur about half of the two verses she was given, making it practically unintelligible, but she’s probably the best-sounding instrument on the song, so I can forgive that. In fact, the song probably rose so high on her strength alone.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t change the fact that this is an EDM song, meaning you should be able to dance to it. This is not a fun, danceable song. “Roses” is one of the stiffest, saddest, most joyless songs I’ve heard in a while. It is a slow trudge through murky swampwater, only the swamp doesn’t even have any alligators to run from. This song has no business being in a club or on the radio, and it definitely has no worth on the pop charts. Avoid this song like the plague, but maybe check out ROZES. That’s what I’m going to do.





Also, did they seriously name the song after the guest artist? Who does that?