Cake Pop: Cake Pop 2 album review
Cake pops entered our collective consciousness around 2009, when 3OH! 3 brought crunkcore to the Billboard charts, Annoying Orange was YouTube’s biggest celebrity, and Taio Cruz’s âDynamiteâ was the song of the summer. These relics also serve as tasting notes for Cake Pop 2, the second release of the experimental pop troupe Cake Pop, a project of 100 guys by Dylan Brady. Mid-to-end-of-month references are baked (no pun intended) in the extended guy universe, as are genre mashups, mood swings, inner jokes, simple pleasures, overwhelming angst. and the audacious production which gives all its meaning. Cake Pop 2 adapts the fundamentals of gec to more conventional song structures and a new set of flavors, but the risks are calculated. They tone down most fun stuff (no “stupid horse” or Seinfeld bass) while bringing lightness (opening lyrics: “Hella is afraid of bees”), offering a simple pop that does not take itself too seriously.
Brady formed Cake Pop in his hometown of St. Louis with friends and local collaborators including Aaron Cartier, Ravenna Golden, Lewis Grant, Pritty, Robel Ketema, Kevin Bedford and Adam Newcomer. The band’s eponymous 2015 EP mixed playtime with explosives and xylophone ranges, teasing the sugar rushes and Monster Energy-sized caffeine crashes that Brady and Laura would later refine with 100 guys. When the Gecs released their debut in 2019 1000 guysBrady’s signature click had echoed hyperpop playlists to the general public. Now he is sharing Cake Pop with his expanded fan base. But as Brady’s footprint on pop music deepens – with everyone Linkin Park at Lizzo tapping him for production – his vision spreads.
Cake Pop 2 is a collection of sketches, idiosyncratic versions of pop formulas: orchestral balladerie, alt-rap, happy hardcore, Top 40, video game soundtracks. “Satin Bedsheets” recalls the 2009 success of Young Money “Rocky substrateâCrossed with Tierra Whack and the EDM stadium. “Ether” puts Sia-slash-Halsey-esque radio songs through a glitchy gecs filter. The “Pombachu” with sparkling arrows and dancehall interpolates Ja Rule’s chorus “Hypnotize, “As the horns of ‘Boom’ bring us back to ‘TIC Tacâ-Era pop party-all-night.
At 20 minutes, the album doesn’t dwell on any idea, which can be both a strength and a weakness. Some highlights leave you hungry: âCake Happyâ works as a short, bouncy duo, but Golden and Grant’s lover’s dialogue is ripe for a plot twist and another key change. “Whistle” is such a robust and whimsical 72 second that you’re tempted to listen twice. To his favorite, Cake Pop 2 is like a number or a dancing circle, where everyone spins in the middle and no one disappoints. The album teases some compelling concepts (âCandy Flossâ features Minecraft on Broadway) and showcases the talents of the Cake Pop members (Cartier’s âMagicâ flow, Ketema’s Auto-Tune reggae styles), but does not give artists or their ideas enough room to flourish.
There hasn’t been a shortage of music for gay fans over the past two years: since the release of 1000 guys and his remix album, Brady produced or co-produced songs for Charli XCX, Dorian Electra, 03 Greedo, Rebecca Black, Rico Nasty and Pussy Riot, to name a few. At this point, we know what to expect from a Brady-led project, and Cake Pop 2 does not dispute these assumptions. The album is a vivid introduction to Cake Pop and its members, but as the sounds of Brady’s busy schedule spread, there’s a feeling we’ve heard most of it before. While the production adapts to the quirks of each song, the adaptation could have been closer. However, for existing fans of Gecs, Cake Pop 2 is a welcome addition to the rotation. It happens easily; the sugar makes you want to bounce off the walls. But a cake pop is not a meal.
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