Monday Motivation: DNCE

It’s the dawn of a brand new week full of hope and promise, but I know I am not alone in feeling like I am still shaking off the bad vibes that seems to have filled the majority of the last seven days. Regardless of who you voted for, it seems impossible to me that anyone could take a glance at the world around them and feel as if life is functioning as it typically has for last few years. Some people are upset, while others are downright furious, and even many of those who are in support of the recent president-elect are dealing with a rush of conflicting emotions over how our nation is adjusting to news of a new leader. I hesitate to use the word crisis, but consider that Webster’s defines that term as “a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger” it seems to be the only word that fits.

In almost every conversation I have had over the last week someone has brought up the subject of entertainment and how it should be consumed. As far as I am concerned there is no one way to cope with the times with live in, but I do believe music can help us in whatever ways we all may need. If you’re looking for fuel to inspire protests and outrage there are certainly a number of artists who have made records capable of pushing you to fight a little harder. If you’re depressed and in need of something to comfort you because the outside world has made you feel unwanted or in any way less than someone else, music has its fair share of outcasts with anthems just for you. If you…Well, you get the point.

My life is largely dependent on being constantly plugged in to the digital world. The first thing I do every morning is read the news, and when I take my dog for a walk I often put on the BBC World News update that is recorded at 5:30 AM EST every morning and released immediately afterward. After I begin the work day my focus turns to the world of entertainment news, but in a post-election world that too has become a place filled with conflict and heartache. The cumulative pain felt all around the world right now is being pushed in front of our faces at almost every turn, and as a result it is becoming increasingly hard to believe there is still a place in this world to have fun and celebrate the good that still exists.

I know if I have noticed this then it’s likely many of you likely have as well, and if you’re anything like me that constant barrage of negativity and conflict has really put a damper on my ability to keep my head held high through day-to-day life. After all, if existence is nothing more than drama, then where is the joy in life?

The answer, my friends, lies in the music of DNCE. Fronted by one of the Jonas Brothers, DNCE has spent the last year building a fervent following comprised of people of all ages from all walks of life. You’ve probably heard their single “Cake By The Ocean” being overplayed at radio, or maybe you found yourself dancing to their hit “Toothbrush” while attending my wedding back in August (it was a real hit with my extended family). If neither of those things apply to you and you’re wondering why this band that seems to hate the letter ‘A’ is supposedly the cure to the worries of the world, please give the following clip a chance to enlighten you:

The music of DNCE, while technically complex at time, is unabashedly simplistic. DNCE want to ensure everyone is capable of having a good time and they have set out to provide a soundtrack for doing just that. Every song the group has shared to date, both from their debut 2015 EP and their upcoming debut LP (out this Friday), have been brimming with themes of love, hope, and above all else – camaraderie. DNCE understand that any amount of fun you can have on your own is made exponentially better by the addition of more people. Maybe this is a single person, like a lover or close friend, or maybe its in reference to a large crowd. The group is laser-focused on creating a sonic space that makes people feel free to express themselves without fear of rejection. Those who accept their offer not only find themselves to be nowhere near as strange or weird or bizarre or unloved as originally thought, but they also have the ability to connect with others who are seeking a similar opportunity to escape the woes of the world. In the land of DNCE, fun reigns supreme.

Take “Good Day,” for example. Opening with a simple and instantly memorable hook, the song tackles the need to shake off the weight of the world and give each new day an equal chance at being great. DNCE acknowledge the fact life has an uncanny ability to catch you off guard with terrible twists and turns, but they work to remind us there is a lot of good in the world as well, and we can further its presence by allowing ourselves to believe that a new day can bring change that will make a positive impact on all people. That might not happen, of course, but you still have to hope that it will.

Without hope or love we are nothing more than a scared collection of creatures covering the Earth and numbering somewhere around 7.5 billion. DNCE understand the power of these two things and have set to reminding the rest of us why we need to try and spread them throughout the land on a daily basis. Hate and negativity only thrive in places where people accept the lie they are never going to be more than what they are right now. You can change and so can the world, and with the music of DNCE it’s easy to believe that positive change is not as hard as it often seems.


James Shotwell is the Digital Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. He is also the Film Editor for Substream Magazine and a ten-year music writing veteran. We recommend you follow him on Twitter.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.