Poundcake - Van Halen (mp3)
Once in a while, a cake comes my way that lures me in. I can enjoy poundcake, for instance. Its simple and un-iced nature breaks so many of the Rules of Cakeness that I can enjoy it. Especially with strawberries.
Likewise, I don’t like Cake. You know, the band. I don’t get them, and I enjoy neither their message nor how it gets sonically delivered.
Because Cake is a band that arrived and earned its notice in the mid-‘90s, many people I know -- Okay fine, it’s almost all guys, so many guys I know -- are fond of Cake. They maybe like the band for its ability to leap through genres, to mash up a little country with white-boy rap or some bluegrass with nu-rock. Maybe there’s an elixir in Cake’s ironical and often-deadpanned lyrics to which I have some unfortunate genetic immunity.
Mostly I feel like Cake is a band version of PBR, which is to say a shit product chosen by the gods to carry immediate coded hipster cred. Cake and PBR are both secret handshakes of people who are better than you, but they’re also more intelligent, so they want to rub your face in their intelligence subtly, with a drink can or a sonically-unsettling song rather than a Hummer or a Brioni suit.
Deadspin offers a great review of “36 Cheap American Beers” which is occasionally amusing, but his comments on PBR are where I do a cheap beer spit take in his face:
It took me a few years to come around on PBR, probably because I was the sort of dipshit who worried about what message my beer was sending. Now that I'm liberated from such petty concerns, I can tell the world, "Hey, look at me spend $14 to get all-day drunk on clean, nondescript beer that tastes like Budweiser is supposed to."And I’m, like, Say Huh? In point of fact, those who drink PBR are sending a very clear message: “I don’t care what you think about what beer I drink. I don’t waste my time with beer choices... (because I’m better than you).”
That’s the sound of Cake in my ears. They’re an in joke that isn’t funny, a secret passage to know-where, a batcave descent into a plain ol’ batcave rather than, you know, The Batcave.
I don’t want to dislike Cake. If someone has the energy and commitment to Cake to try and explain to me what I’ve been missing, or perhaps a sampling of songs that might convince me to reconsider, I’m all ears.
But hey, I like Poundcake. The Van Halen song. It's everything I like about actual poundcake. Unhealthy, simple-minded, and tasty. Can someone find me some Cake like that?