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Review: DNCE Shed Jonas Brother’s Past on Sexy, Silly Debut

Our take on Joe Jonas’ funk-pop rebirth

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'DNCE' is the first album from Joe Jonas' funky new band

F. Scott Schafer

After the giddy irreverence of “Cake by the Ocean,” DNCE is ready to prove they’re more than a one-hit wonder or even a vanity project from former boy band leader Joe Jonas. And if something works, there’s no shame or harm in indulging in it further, so for pop’s funky weirdos, their self-titled debut LP is loaded with all the sexy-silly icing they couldn’t fit on their first slice of “Cake.” Alongside cuts from their infectious debut EP Swaay, DNCE packs punches with cheeky lyrics and cheesy come-ons above Chic-esque grooves. “Waiting for the girl next door to get real dangerous,” Jonas moans on single and standout “Body Moves.” Elsewhere, above the muted guitar of ballad “Almost,” he sighs “It was so real sometimes/It was fictional.” It’s a mature spin on the boy band formula that worked so well for Jonas and his brothers in the past: mixing platitudes with pristine pop while teasing a slightly more explicit twist than he had been allowed in his past musical life. It’s successful for the majority of the project but can sometimes fall flat, like the promisingly titled but ultimately forgettable “Naked” or the cloying “Truthfully.” Duds aside, DNCE’s greatest strength is never taking themselves too seriously – an underrated quality in pop music – and in the end, they find that of all the throwback funk, R&B and bubblegum sounds they try on, “fun” is ultimately the genre they have completely mastered.

In This Article: DNCE, Joe Jonas

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