Adam Does Music: “Daria” – Cake

I know music, like, totally know music and stuff. Sometimes I’ll write about it but not in a snobby, douchey way. I’m doing it way cooler. This is Adam Does Music…

I love Cake, the band not the pastry (though who are we kidding; I love cake, too). My passion for the band runs deep in a unique way given the rock group’s eclectic and distinctive sound. They are undoubtedly popular, with several of their songs being radio staples since the mid-90s. But they aren’t an incredibly famous, massively acclaimed outfit either. They’re the quirky band with the unusual speak-and-sing vocal stylings of John McCrea and a bunch of trumpet solos. That’s not an incorrect observation but it is reductive, since there’s SO MUCH MORE great music in the bands catalogue that most people are unfamiliar with.

One of those songs, and perhaps my favorite Cake track of all, is “Daria” from their 1996 album Fashion Nugget. I can’t lie and say my initial appreciation for the song didn’t start because, hey, that’s the name of that show too! But the song is AWESOME. A sad piano sparkles throughout each verse, punctuating the sadness in the tale of a dysfunctional but loving relationship. Typical to Cake, the lyrics are rather opaque and difficult to decipher if you’re looking for a straightforward description of events, which adds to their power. The narrator announcing to the titular Daria that he won’t be soothed or have his feelings “smoothed over like milk…silk…a bedspread or a quilt,” is a fitting chorus. He sounds pretty high maintenance from the verses, between “biting her tongue” when getting kissed or running off to clean oil spills when she “tried to tell (him) of all the love you had.” So his refusal to appease her requests or heed her attempts at soothing his angry emotions isn’t shocking.

The narrator of the song is a dick, and seems like an annoying, whiny person to have around. Or I think. I don’t know, I’m not REALLY a music critic and maybe I’m way off on the meaning of this song. I just really love Cake and love this song, and felt it was a good time to write a little something about that. I’ve seen them live once before and will be seeing them again this summer in Boston (with Ben Folds!), which I couldn’t be more excited for. It was kismet, between anticipation of that concert and the song sharing a title with a soon-to-be-rebooted show from the same time period. I highly recommend it, along with the whole album, Fashion Nugget. Give it a listen when you have a chance!

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