THE GRADE A-
BOTTOM LINE Lighthearted dance pop done right
DNCE makes it all seem so easy, giving people a well-crafted good time. But the band’s debut “DNCE” (Republic) offers so much more than empty-headed fun.
Building on the template of the smash singles “Cake by the Ocean” and “Toothbrush,” Joe Jonas and friends tell even more playful stories over funk-driven pop on their full-length debut. The new single “Body Moves” brings back an innocent ’80s vibe — something that runs through a lot of today’s pop — but keeps it current by mixing in other genres, like Stevie Wonder-ful breakdowns and Michael Jackson-ish harmonies.
“Blown” co-opts a ’60s organ sound and modernizes it with a memorable verse from rapper Kent Jones and a stack of dance samples reminiscent of a Dust Brothers production. And even when a song is deceptively simple, like the breezy “Zoom,” Jonas makes the difficult vocal — falling in and out of accents and curling every line from full voice to falsetto — sound effortless. The way he aggressively tackles beat-driven vocals, like the soon-to-be party anthem “Pay My Rent,” shows that Jonas’ love of dance music is more than skin deep. That devotion makes “DNCE” one successful delight after another.