Issue #97: The Cake by The Cake

January 18, 2018

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The Cake by The Cake
Released In 1967
Released By Decca Records

This Week’s Selection Chosen By Doug Nunnally

It feels like there is an infinite supply of great, forgotten bands from rock music’s nascency. Take the time to dig deep enough and there’s always going to be a cool garage band, a fun rockabilly artist, or a gifted soul group to discover, each more short-lived and obscure than the last. Of course, the same can be said about modern music, but with the prevalence of platforms like YouTube and Spotify, the idea of being “forgotten” or “obscure” isn’t quite the same. For a newer band, all it takes is a few clicks to find their entire discography, and maybe a few more to find information and details on their history and work. For groups from the ’50s and ’60s, if you want their backstory and a chance to hear everything — or even just a single album — it’s going to take some digging to get there, and even then you may be left with more questions than answers, not to mention some recordings that leave a lot to be desired.

I’ve done my fair share of digging in this regard. More than I care to admit actually, specifically on girl groups, an area of the sonic landscape I’m convinced provides more great finds than any other from that time period. Sure, I’m biased. I absolutely adore girl groups from that time and I believe songs like “Maybe,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” and “One Fine Day” represent the absolute best of songwriting, performing, and recording. But this “treasure trove” belief goes beyond my own taste. The girl group sound of the ’50s and ’60s wasn’t just pleasant to the ears — it was diverse and malleable. Doo-wop, folk, pop, rock, soul — it could fit into any musical style back then, and with the right voice and a competent producer, it could even rival the very best within each genre.

I’ve come across dozens upon dozens of great groups from this time through my digging. Some have been rightfully preserved through industry advocates and retro compilations — specifically The Pleasure Seekers — but most have become lost in time, known only to those who have a 45 stashed away in a box somewhere in their attic. The What Four, The Apollas, Patti’s Groove, or the various recording alter-egos of The Cookies (The Cinderellas were the best); they’re all amazing groups I’ve been lucky enough to stumble upon and are now bands I eagerly throw onto mixes for a great surprise. As great as they are though, their music doesn’t really provide much that separates them from their contemporaries, the ones who have gone on to define the time period. But that’s not to say if you dig deep enough, you won’t find anything more. On the contrary, you might land on a band like The Cake, a short-lived and sadly forgotten band with unbelievable depth and shocking historical significance.

Stumbling upon The Cake at first, it seemed like they were like the aforementioned groups from the time. Extremely talented with some great songs, but not much that really helped them break free of the pack. “Baby, That’s Me,” their debut single and most well-known song, is a really well-done song in the vein of R&B girl groups, with the trio mixing in a tinge of psychedelia as well as a little bit of the dead-pan poise the aesthetic carried at the time. But the song is mostly a rehash of the Phil Spector treatment, which makes sense considering how the song’s producer was a frequent Spector collaborator. Honestly, I’m surprised I dug much more into the band after hearing it, but there was just something about their vocals that really intrigued me. Audibly emotional though tastefully restrained, and colorful yet somewhat dry. “There must be more to this band than being a mod version of the girl group archetype,” I thought because I always think in long, complicated phrases like that. Coming across their debut record, it turns out there was more to The Cake… more than anyone would guess based off their debut single.

Before we dive into the record though, we come to an awkward point in our discussion. Is The Cake’s debut record truly great? Honestly, after a hundred listens, I’d say — sure… but it could be way better. Not exactly a glowing recommendation for a record I picked out, I know, but hear me out. The Cake is definitely a strong record and one that most people should hear. Songs like “You Can Have Him” and the Dr. John penned-“World Of Dreams” build on the aspects that make “Baby That’s Me” so compelling, while other songs, like “I Know,” show off more of the group’s vocal talents and ability to just spread joy through speakers. But these moments aside, the record does have a great deal of missteps, all of which fall on industry practices at the time. Most blatant is how the record is comprised of songs that were intended for other artists, and while the more obvious ones are covers at the end of the record, the record opens up in this fashion as “Baby That’s Me” had been recorded by a fair share of artists prior to 1967, possibly originating with this Lesley Gore version that appeared on her 1965 album My Town, My Guy And Me. Like I said, this was pretty much modus operandi for producers and studios at the time — fill out records with covers and songs intended for others. But it just doesn’t quite work on The Cake’s debut record like it did for others, specifically for two reasons.

First we have to talk about the unintended songs themselves, specifically the three that appear on the back-half of the record — “Mockingbird,” “What’d I Say,” “Stand By Me.” It’s not that they’re bad versions (I particularly like “What’d I Say”); it’s more asking the question, “Did we need any more versions of these songs?” And the answer by 1967 was a resounding “No.” Normally when fleshing out a record with other people’s material, you’d pick B-Sides or lesser-known cuts — not songs that instantly land its writer in the Hall Of Fame. Again, this is not to say The Cake flubbed these covers, but rather that the mere notion that these songs should be recorded for a debut album never should have left the control booth, let alone reach the studio floor and packaging plant.

The other reason this approach to the record doesn’t work is because of something that actually makes this record historically significance. According to author Chris Campion, The Cake was the first girl group to write their own material, specifically three songs sequenced together on the first side of the record — “Medieval Love,” “Fire Fly,” and “Rainbow Wood.” Let that sink in because it really is a big deal when you consider how successful girl groups were from the late ’50s until this point. Now, full disclosure, I can’t confirm nor deny this claim from Campion, though I have a nagging suspicion that some soul groups from the early ’60s may have been first. Regardless of who was “first” though, it was clear that girl groups at the time were not allowed to write and record their own material. But The Cake somehow broke this glass ceiling, not only with a single song, but three songs that specifically went against the image the label wanted for them. Whatever you think of The Cake’s music, this was truly groundbreaking for its time and should be celebrated as an integral milestone in music history.

And the songs they wrote — wow. Just wow. I mean, it’d be conceivable that a label could concede some slots on the record to songs the group wrote in the vein of other styles and artists (something I imagined would be the case if someone had actually beaten The Cake to the punch). But these songs are not token additions, like “Don’t Pass Me By” on The White Album. These were fleshed out, original songs that revealed a lot about the group as musicians and songwriters. Baroque pop with madrigal arrangements, they’re rich with delicate melodies that feel innocuous and abstract, yet potent enough to seize the attention of anyone listening. These three songs alone instantly set The Cake apart from their contemporaries, male and female alike, and give the band a singular identity, something that was hard to come by for most bands at the time, again regardless of gender.

But there is an unintended problem that follows these songs being on the record, namely one of imbalance. On one hand, it’s extraordinary how The Cake is able to go from style to style with poise, flaunting the trio’s versatility as not just singers, but musicians. Most would kill to be able to pull off a song like “Rainbow Wood” and “I Know” in the same record. But in doing so, they reveal the vast, vast distance in quality that lies between their own material and ones provided for them. This isn’t always the case — for instance, I’d still put down “Baby That’s Me” as their best song (by a thin margin), mostly for it’s great mix of intrigue and familiarity — but comparing the ends of Side 1 and Side 2 is pretty much day and night in terms of quality on this record. This shows that even though there was “progress” in allowing the three songs to appear on the record, it wasn’t nearly enough needed for musicians on this level of skill and there was still much to be desired within the industry.

This is where my “could be way better” comes into play when questioning the greatness. I do think the highs more than make up for the lows on the record, and the trio definitely did eclipse the cut-and-paste status for the other songs. They were ahead of their time in a few ways, while also lapping others when grounding themselves in the current sound. All of this makes for a great record, right? Right! But there’s no argument that it could have been so much more, and not because of The Cake themselves. The record label unknowingly (if we’re being nice) or knowingly (if we’re not) kneecapped the group on this record, making the end-result something that’s uneasy even to the group’s most fervent supports… like me! This all makes for a really interesting listening experience, where you can simultaneously walk away elated with the melody of “Fire Fly” bouncing in your head, and also overcome with infuriating questions and what-ifs regarding the production.

Great or not, I wouldn’t normally pick a record to discuss that can rile me up like this one does, but it’s clear listening to the record and scouring through information on the band that it was out of their hands completely. Hopefully, if you’re not like me and can put on blinders to the idiotic studio practices of the time and just enjoy this for what it was — because there’s no arguing that for what it was, it was great and a welcome addition to the artistic growth the music scene was enjoying in ’67. The Cake is a dazzling record from top to bottom by three formidable musicians who show that the time for a girl group mold had long since passed. It’s the very definition of a “lost gem” for music lovers, the type of record that record store scavengers looking for something new and fascinating to hear would kill to come across.

Sadly, there exists only shoddy recordings on YouTube and a few songs here and there on Spotify, but if even one song that you hear lights up your ears, I highly recommend you track down the rest by whatever means. There’s a high chance a local record store will have a copy, and Discogs seems to always have a great number in stock. There was a small CD re-issue in the 2000s that lumped their debut and sophomore record together, but sadly, it’s out-of-print and options out there can get pretty pricey.

As for the band itself, their full story is extremely fascinating and really reveals a lot about the music scene at the time, the musicians themselves, and their impact and influence that’s criminally overlooked. They don’t exist in isolation either as their story pulls in figures like Jimi Hendrix and Eric Burdon, something that makes the case for their historical significance even greater. If I had more time, I’d love to summarize it, but thankfully, Chris Campion penned this great, long bio on them for the linear notes of More Of The Cake Please, the reissue that combines both of their records. I recommend you read it as you’ll learn a lot of really surprising facts, but to really know The Cake, you’re going to have to hear them and even though it may take some digging to get it, trust me when I say it will be completely worth it.

Doug Nunnally (@musicdoug)
Garrulous Aural Braggart

Jeanette Jacobs, Barbara Morillo, and Eleanor Barooshian (aka Chelsea Lee)

Given how much time I spent in my dad’s car listening to Oldies 95.7 here in Milwaukee growing up, I’m a little surprised that I’d never heard of The Cake before now. Yet, given how gleefully left-of-center this record is — that is, psychedelic girl group doo-wop — perhaps I shouldn’t be. It’s always a pleasant surprise to find a hidden gem in music, especially from the ‘60s or ‘70s. And what a hidden gem this is. The Cake’s eponymous debut is an obscure pick for sure, and props for just how obscure: AllMusic doesn’t even have a tracklist for it. (AllMusic does however have a review, which I find a bit odd.) The Phil Spector-esque tracks are fun (especially “Baby That’s Me“), as is the EP-size collection of covers on the back half, but I’d argue the meat of the record is the trio of Barbara Morillo & Jeanette Jacobs compositions. The delicate “Medieval Love,” the spritely “Fire Fly,” and the kaleidoscopic “Rainbow Wood” set The Cake apart from its ilk — almost purposefully — and argue rather intensely of its uniqueness in an era when that was an arduous task. But what’s most appealing about the album is that it’s weird without being off-putting. It shares as much in common with early Pink Floyd as it does with the Chiffons, and still manages to be welcoming. And you know what? That’s pretty cool.

Steve Lampiris (@stevenlampiris)
Sure, Let’s Go With That

When a young woman falls into punk and indie rock, she receives a secret list of out of print female-led records, like Girly-Sound, The Cake, and others. There’s even a movie — Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains. OK, so no one maintains this list and it doesn’t actually exist, but if you’re a woman who came of age before 2000, you have probably cobbled together your own list of forgotten classics like I did, with suggestions from internet friends and Bust magazine. Sometimes someone may have taken pity on you and give you a bootleg cassette or CD or VHS, as if to say, “You’re one of us now. Spread the good word.” I found The Cake’s self-titled album online, after hearing about the band for strong, during the height of file sharing and was so disappointed. This is it? ’60s girl group? Really? I never thought about or listened to the record again. Many years later, with the hype removed, I now see how enchanting this record is. There are a handful of girl group songs with three part harmony that are just fantastic. But even more interesting to me is when The Cake gets weird and psychedelic. “Medieval Love” starts with what sounds like an orchestra warming up, quickly stopping, and then a flute begins the actual song, something like “The Rains Of Castamere,” but with some psych undertones. “Fire Fly” has the same girl group harmonies, but almost hits heavy psychedelia. Greene & Stone, who also produced Iron Butterfly, produced this record, and likely contributed to its unusual sound and excellent orchestration. While some of my favorites, like The Shivvers and Kleenex/Lilliput have seen excellent LP reissues recently, I am disappointed that The Cake keep getting passed over. With Spotify and reissue culture seemingly working directly against each other, I wonder what versions of “lost classics” young people are obsessed with now. We don’t know it’s lost until someone tells us it’s missing. Someone better get started on that list.

Melissa Koch (@bunnycaper)
Mediocre Runner, Aspiring Celebrity DJ

Somewhere in the inky, spotlit darkness of a dance floor, disco ball flecks of light spattered across the smiling, sexy, laughing faces swirling around you, there’s a moment when the night falls away into the next hours, the stumble-home panting walk, when it’s all over. For some reason, it makes itself known just when things are at a peak, when your cocktail smile is at its best, when your feet can’t hit a wrong step. That flash of nostalgia for a night not even over lies suspended somewhere in the shaking percussion and chorus of “I’m so tired” sung in “World Of Dreams,” and the theme only becomes stronger throughout the album. The two opening tracks, including “World Of Dreams” and the opener “Baby That’s Me,” recall the heartthrob tracks of prior girl groups, displaying that sense of longing right away. Though the album gets progressively more upbeat, with bouncing renditions of “Stand By Me,” “Mockingbird,” and “What’d I Say” certainly playing off as more joyous than the most well-known versions of the songs, The Cake pulls us more firmly into that nostalgia by rewriting a bit of their own recent past. Playing as a callback in both theme and covers, the album begs for a look back, a call to listen and sing along to an era just barely passed, echoing eerily in our present given the group’s own short-lived career.

Laura Burroughs (@_thetwors)
Jestful Musical Erudite

I may have said a variation of this before, but just because “history is written by the winners” doesn’t mean other people weren’t making history. Take The Cake (how bad was that, Doug?) — three women from NYC who developed a close harmony style singing a-cappella folk music in Greenwich Village and managed to write and perform their own songs at a time when that was very unusual. Perhaps they would have been better remembered if they had stuck to only those songs, instead of muddying the waters with material dictated by a combination of the times and their management. Let me explain. On their debut album, there are basically three types of songs, of varying interest. The least consequential are the covers of tunes that have been recorded many, many times and usually done better: “What’d I Say” (Ray Charles) and “Stand By Me” (Ben E. King), for example. And the world definitely does not need another version of “Mockingbird.” The next category is more compelling: an ornate latter-day take on the “girl group” sound with songs written for The Cake by folks like Jack Nitzsche, Jackie de Shannon, and “Malcolm Rebennack” aka Dr. John. “Baby That’s Me” (Nitzsche-de Shannon) opens the album with an homage to “Be My Baby” that works, and the tight harmonies and clear, vibrato-less singing of Jeanette Jacobs, Barbara Morillo, and Eleanor Barooshian manage to dominate even through Nitzsche’s wall of sound production. Dr. John’s “World Of Dreams” is not his greatest song, but it’s up-tempo and soulful, with a rich, impassioned lead vocal. These songs are fine — the first has even been called one of the 100 best girl group songs of all time — and are great for spicing up mixtapes of more familiar songs by The Shirelles or The Ronettes, even if The Cake doesn’t quite get to their heights. Now we get to the third category of songs, which is where things get really interesting. These are the three songs written by Jacobs and Morillo in a style I hesitate to call mock-Medieval, with my hesitation coming from how goddamned sincere they sound. Nitzsche keeps the arrangements tasteful with strings, harpsichord, and woodwinds, creating a haunting atmosphere that seems very respectful to The Cake’s conception of the songs. It’s all somewhat baffling, but as much as I’ve tried to make sense of it my only real conclusion is that on these three songs — “Medieval Love,” “Fire Fly,” “Rainbow Wood” — The Cake rudely insert themselves into the story of modern British folk, inviting themselves to a party populated by The Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention, Fotheringay, and Renaissance, among others. This simply should not be. But history is full of things that shouldn’t have happened. In this case, however, these are very good things and I’m very grateful to Doug for the gift of these three extraordinary songs.

Jeremy Shatan (@anearful)
Prescient & Appreciative Musical Omnivore

Combining pysch-rock, R&B, and baroque pop, The Cake’s debut record flaunted the versatility that made the group instant trailblazers.

Imagine you were given the task of sequencing The Cake’s eponymous album. How do you guide a listener through such a fascinating and diverse group of songs? You have spacious wall-of-sound masterstrokes like “Baby That’s Me” and “You Can Have Him.” There’s an EP’s worth of intricate chamber folk that would be a cozy fit for any Wes Anderson soundtrack, though “Rainbow Wood” would have been especially well-suited for a scout scene in Moonrise Kingdom, with bugles voicing the resolute four-note reed hits that first appear at the 39-second mark. You can sprinkle in covers of some of the greatest R&B tunes of all time, including “What’d I Say” and “Stand By Me.” And if that weren’t enough to work with, you have flashes of New Orleanian brilliance, with a Dr. John-penned number in “World Of Dreams” and Jessie Hill’s “Ooh Poo Pah Doo,” not to mention a descending arrangement that appears throughout “Medieval Love” that calls to mind Allen Toussaint’s wilting introduction to “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” in the version from The Last Waltz. Do you bounce listeners back and forth between Motown, the Big Easy, and the renaissance faire? Do you group like songs together, forming a measured itinerary that allows for a few days and nights exploring each destination before zooming through musical space and time? As much as sequencing can influence first impressions or help an album tell a story, I’m inclined to think there’s no wrong way to listen to these songs. They’re a trip, in more ways than one.

Davy Jones (@youhearthat)
Idealistic Seeker Of Neoteric Sounds

I didn’t know what to expect when I hit play on this album. I knew it was The Cake by The Cake and I felt okay playing it because we celebrated my daughter’s birthday this weekend so I knew she would appreciate the appropriate name. And then… my socks were blown off. Here was this ’60s girl group that I’d never heard of sounding like they should be a household name. After that shock, I settled in, enjoying the familiar sounds that come with the genre… and then “Medieval Love” started, kicking off a triumvirate of baroque songs that sounded so authentic that I was once again forced to conclude that these women were time travelers from the distant past, skilled bards that had learned the popular style of their adopted time period so well that they sounded like they belonged there, but still drawn to the musical style that they were more accustomed to. It’s truly the only possible explanation. And while the revelation that time travel exists is earth-shattering, it pales in comparison to how much I enjoyed this album. I know that I have been permanently changed because I can’t stop thinking of friends and relatives that I want to tell about this album. And that doesn’t happen every day.

James Anderson (@unabashedjames)
Devoted Docent Of Musical Concepts

Jeanette Jacobs, Barbara Morillo, and Eleanor Barooshian (rest in peace), have clear chemistry on their 1967 eponymous record, not unlike many other melody driven, girl powered, pop groups of the time. “Rainbow Wood” feels much more in line with how The Cake describe themselves in regards to basic pop style, as the vocals are mixed to be heavily up front and given little room for long release; highlighting the foundation of earlier pop records. Behind those main vocal lies a prominent melodic harpsichord — a staple of Baroque pop songwriting. Meanwhile, tracks like “World Of Dreams” and “You Can Have Him” leave a wide open sound stage, with guitar chord strums and drum hits left to decay long and slowly, making the trio appear as though they recorded in a large, echoing space or, at least with good space between themselves and the microphones. Normally I’d chalk this kind of technique up to a quick and easy plug-in, but this being the 1960s, odds are any variance in sonic presence was achieved the old fashioned way — something to be applauded and reminded of every once in a while amidst all today’s modern shortcuts. Overall, The Cake plays out like a very easy going roadmap of the band’s preferences. Each song individually mixes bits and pieces of different style rhythms, arrangements, and melodic hooks but ultimately, it’s very easy to point out which tracks seems to most channel the soul side of The Cake (“I Know,” “Mockingbird“), the experimental Baroque (“Medieval Love“), and which songs were assembled with a more abstract psychedelic sound in mind. A major difference in takeaway experience from a group like The Cake, versus a group like say, Doug’s much earlier girl group pick of The Roches for Issue #51, is not only the very straightforward nods to each of The Cake’s major genre preferences, but also the fact that The Cake had these various leanings and showed passion for them through entire tracks, as opposed to subtle artistic nods meant to keep the band from standing out too much.

Kira Grunenberg (@shadowmelody1)
Prolific Sonic Scribe & Unifier

Though short-lived & forgotten over the last 50 years, The Cake remains influential thanks to their rich sound & pioneering place in music history.

There’s a bit of a schizophrenia to The Cake’s debut album, which makes it a bit hard to determine what exactly the true face of this mid-’60s girl group is. The first side consists of material that originated with the group, penned either by the members themselves or by well-known songwriters like Jack Nitzsche and Mac Rebennack (aka Dr. John). This stuff has a moody, multilayered sound that lands somewhere between the intricate sunshine pop of recently-rediscovered California ensembles like The Millennium (OYR Issue #46) and Sagittarius and a much darker vibe that, for me at least, evokes the black-and-white psychedelic garage of obscure Scottish group The Poets. Things get very Shakespearean on side one’s last three songs — incidentally, the only ones written by the group’s members — though their dark undertones keep the archaic instrumentation from derailing the mood the singers are trying to create. Things change significantly on side two, though, which definitely raises some questions about whether this group were really this schizophrenic, or whether their record label demanded that they record some more obviously commercial material to keep the album accessible. Side Two mainly consists of R&B standards like “Mockingbird” and “What’d I Say,” songs most listeners will certainly know before they ever hear The Cake’s versions. While this group doesn’t exactly reinvent these tunes, their approach to them is still fun to check out, and “Ooh Poo Pah Doo” specifically shines for its grimy, funky syncopation. Not exactly the sort of thing side one would have prepared you for… but that’s all right. Sometimes getting a look at a group’s versatility is more fun than just hearing them do one thing.

Drew Necci (@buzzorhowl)
Insightful Scholar Of The Underground

I don’t know about you, but I’m always in the mood for dreamy, smooth, 1960s pop. Even if you’re not though, I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to truly dislike The Cake. In my opinion, this three-piece group never got the recognition it deserved. Possibly drowned out of the popular music history books by other larger than life pop artists at the time, The Cake’s debut album just didn’t seem to blow up like its 1960s contemporaries, but that’s not because it was lacking in the talent department. There is an effortless flow to their songs that I love as they perform their own material as well as R&B classics. The trio’s talent had a major impact on renowned Sunset Strip producers Greene & Stone, who would go on to manage and produce both their albums and also managed artists like Buffalo Springfield, Sonny & Cher, and Iron Butterfly. Unfortunately, it was the group’s short lifespan that kept them from climbing to greater heights. When I listen to this album, I feel a blend of artists you wouldn’t expect from your average vocal trio, but allow me to elaborate. Imagine this: the vocal style and talent of Dionne Warwick mixed with the iconic surfer style reverb you find on many of The Doors tracks and the all immersive instrumental theatrics that The Rolling Stones mastered in their track “Sympathy For The Devil.” Have I sold you yet? Get a copy of The Cake today anywhere you can — you may be late to the party, but better than never.

Erin Calvert (@erinpcalvert)
Elder Goth In The Making

There really is something to be said about a classic sound — how it can just take you back and make you feel something instantly. The first track “Baby That’s Me” had that timeless ’60s sound that had me smiling after the first few chords. Things are timeless for a reason, and sometimes I really wish that people still came out with albums like this. Full of orchestral instruments, and just genuinely happy and fun music. At times, I truly believe that I was born in the wrong era — I close my eyes listening to this album and I’m transported back to a time when things were simpler and what I imagine to be a time pretty much exactly like the musical Hairspray. As much as I do enjoy that classic ’60s sound, I do like that this album has a lot of different sounding tracks, which again comes down to the amount of different instruments used. No two sound the same, which I really appreciate. I’d have to say though that my favourite track is the cover of “Stand By Me,” which might be a bit cliche but it has always been one of my favourite songs. I just love the music, the message, and the fact that it put an instant smile on my face (especially after being sick all week — I needed an uplifting song). You know, time travel may not be scientifically possible (yet) but music truly does allow you to travel through time and I love that this album allowed me to do so.

Chelsea Kostrey (@chelseakostrey)
Retrophile & Festival Enthusiast

I’ve learned a lot about myself by listening to The Cake these last few days. Namely, that I really like the vocal arrangements here. I know that part of the appeal, at least these days, of the way that girl groups harmonize, is because it recalls a simpler time. Music production wasn’t nearly the big song and dance that it is today, and it proves that great music could be made without any studio trickery or gimmicks. Just pure pop music. And while listening to The Cake does remind me of simpler times, it’s not exactly nostalgia for a decade well before my time. At least, not in the sense I just described. You see, one of my favorite albums of all time is the Ramones’ debut album. Its presentation, both musically and lyrically, strips away any pretension, and the vocal melodies, despite being delivered by a snotty kid from Queens who only took the vocalist position because Dee Dee couldn’t handle the strain on his throat, are pure pop. I listened to it endlessly when I was 14, and I think that its influence can be felt on nearly every one of my favorite current bands and albums. How does this relate to The Cake? Because of the obvious influence that girl groups like The Cake had on the Ramones, particularly Joey Ramone. Maybe his pipes weren’t as sweet as anything on this album, but it’s also not a stretch to listen to “I Know” or “Mockingbird” and imagine him singing it (and in the case of the latter, the shrillness of the backing vocals could easily translate into something snotty and obnoxious, a la Screeching Weasel’s “I Wanna Be With You Tonight“). The Cake may not have been one of the specific influences on the band that essentially grandfathered all of my favorite artists, but now that I’ve listened to them, I feel like they ought to have been.

Dustin Gates (@cmoncheermeup)
Relapsed Pop Culture Junkie

Next Week’s Selection:
What To Fear by Sean Watkins
Chosen By Kira Grunenberg

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Editor: Doug Nunnally

Contributors: James Anderson, Laura Burroughs, Erin Calvert, Catherine Dempsey, Kellen “J. Clyde” Ford, Dustin Gates, Kira Grunenberg, Davy Jones, Melissa Koch, Chelsea Kostrey, Steve Lampiris, David Munro, Drew Necci, & Jeremy Shatan

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