DNCE Thrives on Fun & Innuendo on Debut Album ‘DNCE’
DNCE marks the resurrection of Joe Jonas’ recording career. That resurrection is worthwhile on the band’s self-titled debut.
“Come on, whatever you need, hey, you look sick bitch!” Clearly, Joe Jonas ditched the purity ring and squeaky clean image years ago. Long removed from his Jonas Brothers roots, Jonas fronts pop collective DNCE, who experienced a breakout hit in 2015 with “Cake by the Ocean.” After the sweet taste of success, DNCE drops its anticipated full-length debut, DNCE. The results are fun…and suggestive to the nth degree.
“DNCE” initiates DNCE fittingly. While it isn’t the crème de la crème, it sets the tone for the fun nature of the album. “DNCE” is well produced, possessing a sick groove and bright horns. The real fun follows.
Highlight “Body Moves” opens enthusiastically with “ow!” Albeit corny, it starts the record enthusiastically. The groove has the dancefloor in mind – neo-disco in quality. Overall, it’s well-produced record, featuring ample soulful cues. In addition to superb production work, innuendo serves as the record’s biggest selling point.
“Cake by the Ocean”
Breakout hit “Cake by the Ocean” keeps the innuendo ripe. Jonas and company “got it in” on “Body Moves,” but extend the metaphor on “Cake.” At one point, Jonas describes her as being “f*cking delicious” in an ad-lib. The same sentiment could be said about “Cake by the Ocean” – it’s a truly infectious, highly suggestive gem.
“Doctor You” keeps the pace going and the libido rolling. Jonas asserts himself as a doctor…of love (sex) of course.
“You’re gonna need, need a real good doctor /…Doctor Me.”
Prior to the catchy refrain, Jonas states, “You can count on me for a fee, I’ll happily take it away.” An isolated lyric like that titillates in itself, representing the sexed-up persona of DNCE. Later on, the assertion is “I’m a double the dosage.” Wow.
“Toothbrush” reappears from the SWAAY EP, like “Cake by the Ocean.” Here, DNCE asserts there is no need to be ashamed on the “morning after.” At this stage, the hook ups seem to becoming more regular, the relationship is intensifying, so it’s okay to leave things at each other’s places. While sex is the catalyst for the reaction, “Toothbrush” is deeper than some of the other songs.
Depth goes out the window on “Blown,” where DNCE is assisted by up-and-coming rapper Kent Jones (“Don’t Mind”). Positively, “Blown” features old-school, retro production, giving the song some character. Beyond the production, the lyrics are a bit too schmaltzy. “Good Day” has an optimistic sound, like most of the songs from DNCE. With a slightly varied sound, “Good Day” has more of a pop-rock quality. In regards to concept, the song explores the aftermath of partying too hard.
“Ooh I feel like a million bucks in a toilet / ooh, my head to my toes to my soul has been poisoned / living proof, that even when your whole life has been destroyed/ you can still enjoy it.”
“Almost” is a lighter track– a change of pace. Even though it’s more serious than the majority of the track list, it’s also less interesting. “Naked” atones, picking up the tempo once more and returning the focus to the bedroom. Jonas doesn’t hold back the desires of his, um, nether:
“I wanna be naked with you / with no lights on, just the moon / I wanna be naked with you / we’ll leave our clothes on the floor, put a sock on the door…”
Perhaps it’s shallow, but “Naked” is honest and infectious. Can Jonas really help if “This clothing, this clothing is turning into torture / got one thing left on my brain?” No – of course not – blame it on being a male.
Follow up “Truthfully” once more aims for seriousness, with more respectable results than “Always.” Still, even in spite of radiant falsetto, the suggestive pop of “Be Mean” is much more intriguing. Featuring top-rate production, there are numerous excellent production touches, including rhythmic guitar, pop-soul groove, and plush horn hits. In addition to overall production, “Be Mean” features sound vocal production with Jonas sounding exceptional. Throughout its course, there are numerous highlighting lyrics, once more characterized by the use of innuendo.
DNCE closes energetically. “Zoom” isn’t on the same level as “Body Moves” or “Cake by the Ocean,” but is enjoyable enough. Arguably the funky “Pay My Rent” gets the edge in a head-to-head battle, with Jonas’ effective falsetto shining once again. “Pay My Rent,” like “Cake” and “Toothbrush,” reappears from SWAAY. “Unsweet” caps off with tempo and swag, but it falls a notch or two below the crème de la crème ultimately.
All in all, DNCE is an enjoyable, sound debut effort from the pop collective. This is a great vehicle for the rebirth of Joe Jonas if nothing more. More often than not, the songs are fun and catchy. Running 14 tracks deep, there are less memorable moments, but they don’t weigh down the effort. The best moments are where Jonas owns sex…for lack of a better description.
Gems: “Body Moves,” “Cake by the Ocean,” “Toothbrush,” “Naked” & “Be Mean”