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CAKE (yes, capitalized) is an American Alternative Rock band from Sacramento, California. They currently consist of John McCrea on vocals, Vince DiFiore on trumpet, Xan McCurdy on guitar, Daniel McCallum on bass, and Todd Roper on drums.

They are well-known for their heavily distinctive style, caused primarily by John McCrea's detached vocal style and their use of brass. Also, every single one of their songs is about 1) a Girl, 2) a Car, 3) the Devil, or more likely 4) two or more of those subjects at the same time (e.g. "Satan is My Motor" which is about all three).

They have a famously large geekdom fanbase, and their hit "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" was the appropriately chosen theme song to cult TV show Chuck, which is where a lot of their more recent fans will have become familiar with them. Their other first hit, "The Distance", boosted the sales for their album Fashion Nugget.

Their discography consists of the following:

  • Motorcade of Generosity (1994)
  • Fashion Nugget (1996)
  • Prolonging The Magic (1998)
  • Comfort Eagle (2001)
  • Pressure Chief (2004)
  • B-Sides And Rarities (A compilation of covers and live versions of existing songs) (2007)
  • Showroom of Compassion (2011)

They provide examples of:

  • Audience Participation Song: "Never There" has the "When I need you (BABY) Baby (YOU'RE NEVER THERE!)" part. Audiences even sing the second part when it comes back, something that doesn't happen in the studio version (and indeed, the band stays silent).
  • Badass Boast: "I am an opera singer/I will sing when you're all dead/I sing the mountains crumbling apart/I sing what can't be said."
  • Badass Longcoat: "Short Skirt/Long Jacket".
  • Break-Up Song: "Wheels" and "Never There".
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The chorus of "Nugget".
  • Compensating for Something: "Race Car Ya Yas"
    The land where large fuzzy dice still hang proudly like testicles from rear view mirrors
  • Cover Version: A staple of them. The most prominent are the singles "I Will Survive" and "The Age of Aquarius", and "The Guitar Man", which received a music video.
  • Death Row: The protagonist of the music video for "Long Time" is sentenced to this, along with his monkey friend. They spend the entire video trying to escape the van taking them to the site of execution.
  • Determinator: Taking a literal interpretation, "The Distance" is about a race car driver trying to finish a race he lost long ago.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: "Italian Guy" is about, well, an Italian guy.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: The video for "Sheep Go to Heaven". There's also a Fire and Brimstone Hell in the same video.
  • Genre Mashup: CAKE goes all over the place, combining jazz standards, country, crooning, funk, soul, and alt rock.
  • "I Want" Song: Again, "Short Skirt/Long Jacket".
  • Long Runner Lineup: Type 2 between 2004 and 2015, which marked Paulo Baldi's stint as the drummer.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Reluctantly crouched at the starting line/Engines pumping and thumping in time..."
  • Most Writers Are Writers: "Shadow Stabbing" is often applied to writing-themed media (such as the crossword documentary "Wordplay"). If anything, any writer can sympathize with the narrator's nervous attempt to finish his writing.
  • Music Is Politics: "Comfort Eagle" can be interpreted as this, complete with comparing the music business to a Corrupt Church.
  • Never Bareheaded: John McCrea is never seen without some form of headwear. He appears to have an affinity for baseball caps.
  • Offscreen Airplane Pull-up: Their song "Mr. Mastodon Farm" is all about watching through a window as birds pull this maneuver.
    "Birds fall from the window ledge above mine, then they flap their wings at the last second. I can see their dead weight, just dropping like stones or small loaves of bread, past my window all the time. But unless I get up, and walk across the room, and peer down below, I don't see their last-second curves towards a horizontal flight."
  • Ordinary People's Music Video:
    • "No Phone" shows people dancing to the song while listening to it through headphones.
    • "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" is clips of various people on the street listening to the song on headphones and giving their reactions.
  • Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: John's voice is noted for being oft droll and monotone delivery, which combined with the lyrical content also makes him a Deadpan Snarker.
  • Precision F-Strike: Their "ironic" cover of "I Will Survive" changes "...that stupid lock..." to "...that fucking lock...". Gloria Gaynor, who is a devout Christian, said that this is why their cover was her least favorite.
    • And it wasn't even the only song on Fashion Nugget to use the F-word. It appears quite a lot in "Nugget".
  • Resistance Is Futile: "Comfort Eagle". "To resist it is useless. It is useless to resist it."
  • Running Gag: OHHH, YEAH! ALL RIGHT! In about three songs on every album (Including B-Sides and Rarities).
  • Self-Deprecation: "Sheep Go to Heaven" makes a reference to "bold marquees with stupid band names". Coming from a band called CAKE, it's either this or Hypocritical Humor.
  • Single Stanza Song: "Race Car Ya-Yas".
  • Spoken Word in Music: "Mr. Mastodon Farm".
  • Stop and Go: "Short Skirt / Long Jacket".
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: While not a full rip-off, a certain two-note sequence in "Love You Madly" brings to mind "Good Times Bad Times" by Led Zeppelin.
    • The brass section in "The Distance" sounds a lot like the motif from The Downward Spiral (i.e. probably most familiar as the piano notes at the end of "Closer").
  • War Is Hell: "I Bombed Korea".
    I'm not a hero, I'm not a movie star / I've got my beer, I've got my stories to tell / But they won't tell you what it's like in Hell.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Their lyrics are frequently vague, non-sequitur-y, and/or full of strange imagery. "Nugget" is pretty much the epitome of this trope.
  • Word Salad Title: All albums but Prolonging the Magic.