Cake is a fabulous band. In addition to great music with a nice beat, their lyrics are chock full of cultural commentary pointing out idiosyncrasies of love and life in our modern America. Keyboard and synthesizers are used in addition to the refreshingly real trumpet, creating a fun concert atmosphere as well. Cake has turned out five albums since 1994. At www.cakemusic.com you can listen to snippets of the first three tracks of each album. With so many tracks to choose from, it is difficult to pick only 10 to sample the best that Cake has to offer!
Pressure Chief (2004)
2. No Phone
6. Guitar Man
In their most recent album, Cake moves more toward a melodic-yet harder rockin’-alternative pop sound. “No Phone” disparages the intrusion of technology into daily life and relationships. The astute commentary is uniquely delivered by the lead singer actually singing. He generally maintains a certain monotone that is one defining characteristic of Cake, but the difference here is refreshing. “Guitar Man” was a radio track in early 2005, and is similar to the remake of “I Will Survive” that cake did many years prior. “Guitar Man” was originally acoustic, by a band ironically named Bread. Marie Antoinette is turning in her grave. “Waiting” is another in your face reminder that life is life, that the grass is always greener, and that “You’ll always be waitingÃ¢Â?Â¦”
Comfort Eagle (2001)
4. Short Skirt/Long Jacket
7. Comfort Eagle
I can’t decide which, but one of these two songs is my favorite Cake-ism ever. “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” is a discussion of the woman he wants to meet, a powerful girl who knows what she wants. The singing style is in classical Cake style, with rhythmic speaking delivery heard above great background music and trumpet solos. “Comfort Eagle” is an attack on the mega-religion phenomenon and on poseurs, with a driving beat and insistent rhythm. This is the song that makes you drive too fast. Find these two songs and listen to them. Then listen again for the lyrics. Sublime!
Prolonging the Magic (1998)
7. Sheep Go to Heave
“Mexico” is a lost love ballad, with the singer fleeing to Mexico after a break up. The narration is poignant, and melodically the song is well written and fun to listen to. “I had a match, and she had a lighter” and other ironic lyrics are well suited to both a mellow party and to driving. “Sheep Go to Heaven (Goats Go to Hell)” is a catchy song, with a hilarious chorus. Definitely worth a download, even non-Cake enthusiasts will giggle!
Fashion Nugget (1996)
2. The Distance
7. I Will Survive
14. Sad Songs and Waltzes
For many people, Cake is remembered for the one hit wonder “The Distance” which is strange, considering that the band isn’t a one hit wonder. “The Distance” is definitely a classic, though, with a vocal intro and cool bass riffs. The remake of “I Will Survive” takes the fluff out Gloria Gaynor’s and other versions. Rough guitar and compelling vocals make this another one of the bands truly great songs. “Sad Songs and Waltzes” is a beautifully mournful trumpet based ballad, with the singer speaking to his lost love, telling her “I’m writing a song all about you, a true song as real as my tears, but you’ve no need to hear it, because sad songs and waltzes aren’t selling this year.” While many people wouldn’t include this song on a top ten, to me it is a prime example of the humanity in Cake’s music. Most of the songs are written by the band, and may be inspired by life. It also is musically and melodically impeccable.
Fashion Nugget is probably my favorite album, holistically, with Pressure Chief as a close second. I recommend a listen to both albums to get an idea of Cake’s range! Motorcade of Generosity was Cake’s first album in 1994, and brings more of the 50s rock blend to the picture, with a side of reggae. The songs are great, but ever so slightly immature, as this was their first album. Amazon.com sells all of the albums, and also has samples of every track for you to enjoy! Cake is, without a doubt, my favorite band, both because the music is great and versatile and because the lyrics provide an alternative look at life.