Review: DNCE's Album, "DNCE"
Cheap Thrills and California Cool
Pop band DNCE is comprised of drummer Jack Lawless, guitarist JinJoo Lee, bass player/keyboardist Cole Whittle and lead vocalist Joe Jonas. Recently, the group followed up their 2015 EP 'Swaay', with the release of an eponymous debut album.
Every tune on ‘DNCE’ channels a carefree, outgoing energy. All the tracks flicker with zany flourishes and ooze the same California cool. In terms of shameless fun, the album delivers. The majority of it is stupidly instant and can’t be held down. ’DNCE’ doesn’t overflow with depth, but it’s packed with cheap thrills and benign escapism. Without the music getting sickly sweet, tracks like ‘Blown’ and ‘Naked’ have the power to, at least momentarily, brighten up the worst kind of situations.
The record’s overall outlook is summed up on clappy pop/rock tune ‘Good Day’. Affirming that the upcoming day is going to be a positive one, ‘Good Day’ is crammed with casual, off-centre boldness. Like several other cuts on ‘DNCE’, ‘Good Day’ incorporates a handful of animated, random vocal clips.
Moving On From "Cake By The Ocean"
It could be argued that after a listener has heard singles ‘Cake By The Ocean’ and sleek, sexy grower ‘Toothbrush’, they’ve heard most of ‘DNCE’. In many ways, the LP is a collection of lesser, yet similarly charged versions of those two tracks. ‘DNCE’ would be improved if it concentrated on evolving it’s already popular singles instead of simply rehashing them.
That said, listeners who are sick to death of ‘Cake By The Ocean’ (which is now over a year old), and looking for a new, equally sun-kissed pop ditty to be obsessed with should find something on ‘DNCE’ that holds their attention. DNCE frontman Joe Jonas is a credible, bright and steady presence across the album’s playtime. Never completely relinquishing a Disney Channel approachability, the 27-year-old swears, brags and bawls his way through the LP.
Newcomer Kent Jones Joins DNCE for "Blown"
Describing the havoc of being too drunk to spell the word “dance” correctly, the album’s toe-tapping, self-titled intro track is a tantalising highlight. Florida newcomer Kent Jones is the album’s only guest star, and appears on the energetic ‘Blown’. The rapper races through an explicit verse, which immediately makes its mark over the track’s beachy, swinging Sixties backdrop. The neon funk, dance and pop setup of ’Naked’ is unabashed - the catchy cut is truly hyped up. There’s no let up on it, ‘Naked’ goes all out without stopping for breath.
Joe Jonas' Tales of Bad Romance
The relatively subdued ’Truthfully’ touches on the negative effects of a dysfunctional romance and presents itself as a raw, under-processed song - but this is no more than a facade. That said, ‘Truthfully’ does authentically step away from the devil-may-care tone that dominates the project.
‘Almost’ also adopts a reflective feel and is relationship focused. Backed by humble, polished guitar accompaniment, Jonas spends the track lamenting the breakdown of another cherished bond. Openly owning up to his personal shortcomings, Jonas insists that his ex-lover will never be able to replicate the time the two shared together with another guy.
"Be Mean" Disguises Its Naughty Themes
Craving his lover’s poison, ’Be Mean’ dresses up light sadomasochistic ideas in a glorious pop sheen. 'Be Mean' even incorporates whip cracking sound effects. The cut separates itself from the rest of ‘DNCE’ with a memorable, tuneful pre-hook. Making the most of its forward charge, ‘Zoom’ is a sharp effort that basks in a trouble-free aura. Though the song isn’t long-lasting, it radiates with youthfulness. Jonas’ falsetto is irrepressible on 'Zoom', the way he alters his vocal delivery during the tune’s verses is entertaining.
The Innocuous Disco Vibe of "Pay My Rent"
Anchored by rounded, wholesome beatwork, ‘Unsweet’ is a harmless, breezy pop number. Jonas uses the track to confess that he’s not looking for a poster girl, and that he’s happy with the imperfect woman he’s currently seeing. Despite the cut containing lyrics that consider life's darker side, ‘Unsweet’ features nothing too inflammatory. Setting aside the fact it can get skippable, 'Unsweet' also incorporates a standout funky pop breakdown just after its midway mark.
The innocuous 70s disco vibe of ‘Pay My Rent’ is infectious, its instrumental sounds bubbly and involved. The track’s party atmosphere is hard to resist. Practically demanding that listeners let their hair down, ’Pay My Rent’ restlessly conveys the buzz of a unmissable party.