SWAAY by DNCE: an album review

DNCE-SWAAY-EP-Cover-Art_2015-10-13_17-25-37
DNCE’s first EP, SWAAY, features all four members: Joe Jonas, JinJoo Lee, Jack Lawless, and Cole Whittle. (DNCE)

By CELINE NGUYEN
Staff Writer

DNCE, an up-and-coming band composed of Joe Jonas, JinJoo Lee, Jack Lawless and Cole Whittle, has slowly made its way up Top Charts around the world with its EP SWAAY. The band’s sound can be described as a mix of funk, disco and R&B influences all wrapped up in a contemporary pop package. DNCE, the project of Jonas and former Jonas Brothers drummer Lawless, has become a supergroup. Lee has worked with big names like Charlie XCX, and Whittle is a successful bass drummer from the band Semi Precious Weapons. Though SWAAY is a relatively short album with only four tracks, it provides a look into the band’s promising future and is a satisfyingly sugar-coated collection of songs.

DNCE’s first and only single so far, “Cake By the Ocean,” had a lukewarm reception when it was released but eventually made its way up to the top 30’s in the Hot 100s chart. One of the quirkiest pop tunes of 2015, “Cake By the Ocean” captured the attention of Z100 radio host Maxwell and supermodel Gigi Hadid, with the former featuring the song several times on air on its release date, and the latter directing a fittingly whimsical music video for the track.

“Pay My Rent,” the second song in SWAAY, follows the upbeat tempo of “Cake by the Ocean,” with Jonas’s leading vocals cutting playfully through the organized chaos of the background music. “Pay My Rent” is ridiculously catchy, making it the perfect song for spontaneous dance sessions or a pick-me-up.

SWAAY’s lyrics eliminate the demeaning languages that is featured in so many of today’s top hits. DNCE chooses to replace these words with happy imagery like illustrations of relationships. “Toothbrush,” the third track, evokes the feeling of contentment when with a significant other and seems to use a policy of “show not tell.” The song centers around the symbolism of toothbrushes and how significant others “[don’t] have to rush” to leave, and can instead take their time and leave their toothbrushes right where they are.

A testament to the band’s varying tone, DNCE recorded “Jinx,” a track different in sound but similar in sentiment. The song gives off a distinct indie-pop vibe, and is accompanied rather uniquely by the background sound of a kazoo. It does not feature upbeat tempos that characterize the rest of SWAAY, but it serves as a break from the other tracks on the album.

Joe Jonas and the rest of the Jonas Brothers are household names. It’s hard for child artists — especially those tied to Disney – to make a name for themselves in the music industry, but with SWAAY, Jonas and the rest of his band are on track to do just that. “Cake By the Ocean” is by far the catchiest song out of the four, but I found myself drawn in by the sweet and quiet imagery of “Toothbrush.” I greatly enjoyed DNCE’s EP album, and eagerly await their debut album.

SWAAY, with a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, is available on the iTunes Store for only $4.26.

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