Master Class: Cake

Now it’s time to get right down to it. If we were eating birthday cake, the first week would be the icing: The first taste, beautifully sweet and supple. The second week would be the cake itself, firm yet delicate, with just the right amount of sugar. Today’s entry is the fork: it’s nothing like the birthday cake, but it’s entirely essential to eat the cake properly.


Ok, I was going to write something else here, but I love that analogy so much. These are the songs the Workaholics crowd would be proud of: “Let’s get weird!”

“Jolene” on Motorcades of Generosity

This is the most straight-up rock song Cake has, but I think it’s also one of their best songs overall. It doesn’t sound much like the sound they’ve become known for, but it’s off their first album – they were just figuring out what they wanted to do. Having said that, it’s a brilliant song, and one of my favorite break-up songs, having helped me through the last one I went through. The lyrics to the chorus are particularly effective:  “every time I pull you close / push my face into your hair / cream rinse and tobacco smoke / that sickly scent is always, always there.” What separates it from the rest of their music, however, is the outro. It’s raw and truly angry. I have to wonder how often they play this song anymore. It can’t be a fan favorite. At least, not your average fan.

“You Part the Waters” on Motorcades of Generosity

Oh, what a fun, fun song. And weird. I’m convinced that the chorus, with the repeated use of the word “piano,” is just a distraction from the fact that John McCrea couldn’t come up with a rhyme for “piano.” In earnest, this song is all over the place. But I’ve found that it’s an incredible song to drive around and sing along to. The re-entry to the music after the strings-break is one of my all-time favorite Cake moments. It’s fun, it’s funky, it’s totally odd. It’s exactly what I want from a Cake song.

“Mr. Mastodon Farm” on Motorcades of Generosity

It’s pretty much a spoken word track; you’re just going to have to accept that. The lyrics in the verse sound like a college freshman got too stoned one afternoon and wrote a very, very odd poem. I can’t imagine the truth of writing this song is that far off from the previous description. But there’s something super soothing about this song, as if you could put it on while taking a bath. I’ve never been able why exactly I like this song as much as I do, but I do. And you probably should, too.

“Nugget” on Fashion Nugget

If you’re pissed off and need to listen to some angry music, most of the time Cake will not be your answer. The few exceptions are the song above, “Jolene,” and this song. The verse lyrics make little to no sense but are really fun to angrily shout, and the chorus is perfect those who are angry: “Shut the fuck up!” And it’s filled with “YA!’s” and vibraslaps a-slapping. It’s angry and silly at the same time – something only Cake could pull off.

“Thrills” on B-Sides and Rarities

I was very recently introduced to this track by my friend Karee. I was ecstatic to find a Cake track I hadn’t yet heard! And this song did not disappoint. It’s great, and singularly weird. A true spoken word track, this time with a seriously kick-ass beat and a liquid guitar line. There isn’t much to say about this track: In the immortal words of Mitch Hedberg, you’re either gonna love or hate it, or think it’s ok.

2 thoughts on “Master Class: Cake

  1. Pingback: What I Listened To In 2012: Part 1 (By Joshua) | Charm City Jukebox

  2. Pingback: Top 5 Versions of “Jolene” | Charm City Jukebox

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