If you know me or even just follow me on social media, you know that DNCE is one of those bands that I have supported from the first listen. For those that still don’t know, DNCE is fronted by Joe Jonas and includes Cole Whittle who plays bass, Jack Lawless who plays drums, and JinJoo Lee who plays guitar.
Just this past Friday, they released an EP after a little music-releasing hiatus. Since the release of their self-titled album in November of 2017, they’ve put out a single with Nicki Minaj (“Kissing Strangers”) which has been streamed over 87 million times on Spotify, been featured on songs like Mark & Kremont’s “Hands Up” and released a single of their own earlier this year (“Dance”).
Now they’re back with an EP and it is an absolute breath of fresh air. This body work is a lot different than what they’ve done in the past. It’s a more chill sound as opposed to their high-energy records, most notably, Cake by the Ocean — the song that went on to become 4x platinum and the bands national anthem, basically. This time, the band slowed things down and while doing so, have developed a really mature EP that shows not only the bands professional growth as artists, but their growth as a band of people who work together.
This EP has this really nice old-school feel to it that I think, with marketing and promo done right, can really help to develop a new set of fans for DNCE….fans that come from the era of prominent 80’s music or fans like me, who grew up on the oldies and enjoy those sounds in music today.
Changing up a sound like that, after having such a successful pop radio hit, is a big step and not one that many artists are willing to take. It’s a risk because not everyone enjoys the soulfully funky and toned-down music and fans of the band, might not be willing to continue to ride the wave. However, after more than a decade in the music industry and conforming to music that his label pushed on him in the past, Joe Jonas seems like he is comfortable and ready to make the music that he’s always wanted to make. In doing so, he has been part of the creative process behind People to People which is so mature and has so much depth.
“Tv in the Morning,” the first song on the EP, really sets the tone for the rest of the project. When you listen to this, you know the kind of vibe that the band is trying to achieve and the kind of mood that they want to get you in. Joe’s voice is sort of haunting in the verses and I definitely get chills listening to those parts of the song. It’s one of my favorites, without a doubt.
My absolute favorite record on the EP, “Man on Fire” takes a bit of a twist from the rest of the EP and it’s perfectly placed as the last song. When I genuinely enjoy an entire body of work, it’s difficult for me to choose a favorite but with People to People it was different because of this one. I just knew right away. “Man on Fire” is this classic rock n roll jam that has these reggae-inspired elements. Lyrically, it’s a little tastefully raunchy and Joe Jonas delivers some Prince-Falsetto vocals that’s unlike anything I have heard from him before. This is without a doubt a record that shows the growth in musicianship and really implements this old-school feel good vibe.
The soulful and funk-elemented People to People EP is one to listen to. With lyrics like “you’re so groovy babe, why you so smooth?” (Lose my Cool) and the overall instrumentation, it’s easy to tell what the band was going for and the kind of influences that they brought with them to the studio. They accomplished everything they wanted to accomplish and secretly, more too. Joe Jonas showcasing his power vocals is important for the world to understand that he really does perform vocally like Prince and Freddie Mercury did once upon a time and to show that professionally, he is a different musician now than he was when he was in the most famous band in the world, ten years ago which is something that is still sort of in his shadow.
This body of work is a new era for the band and it has the possibility to take them to new and different professional heights. I’m personally excited to see what else they’re going to come up with, following this EP and this vibe and to see these songs being performed live.
Please feel free to share your thoughts on the EP whether on social media or in the comment section. I am in awe of this work and I would love to read what everyone else thinks of it!