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“Cake by the Ocean” from Joe Jonas’ band DNCE is one of their most famous songs, however, not everybody knows what “cake by the ocean” means. Interestingly, Jonas’ looks helped inspire the song. Here’s a look at what the song is about and how the world reacted to it.

DNCE's Joe Jonas in a suit
Joe Jonas Peter Larsen/WireImage

How Joe Jonas’ looks and a language barrier inspired DNCE’s ‘Cake by the Ocean’

Justin Tranter is a songwriter known for penning tracks for Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Gwen Stefani, Cardi B, and others. During an interview with MTV News, he discussed how Jonas inspired DNCE’s “Cake by the Ocean.” “I was thinking, this guy is really fun and really hot, so I knew we needed to write a song that was fun and sexy,” Tranter said. “On that day, in that moment, that was me trying to get him to that truth.”

According to NME, the song’s title was the result of a language barrier. “We were working with some producers from Sweden and they kept telling us this story about having cake by the ocean. I was like, ‘Are you guys talking about sex on the beach?’” Jonas said. “They were like, ‘Well, yeah.’ After having writers’ block in the studio all week, we wrote this song in like 10 minutes flat with Justin Tranter. It could mean the actual act of having sex by the ocean, or it could mean eating pastries by the boardwalk.”

DNCE’s “Cake by the Ocean”

How Justin Tranter feels if people understand DNCE’s ‘Cake by the Ocean’ differently

Tranter told MTV News he doesn’t have a problem if people interpret “Cake by the Ocean” differently. “We aren’t writing these songs for ourselves, or else we would never release them,” Tranter said. “The goal is that everyone hears these stories or metaphors, makes it their own, and decides what it means for them.”

How the world reacted to DNCE’s ‘Cake by the Ocean’

DNCE’s “Cake by the Ocean” might have unorthodox lyrics compared to other pop songs — but that didn’t prevent it from connecting with a large audience. Tranter said the Kidz Bop version of “Cake by the Ocean” is one of the group’s highest earners. In addition, the track reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 46 weeks. 

Kidz Bop’s “Cake by the Ocean”

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“Cake by the Ocean” and “Toothbursh” remain DNCE’s only charting songs. The latter reached No. 44 and stayed on the chart for 10 weeks. “Cake by the Ocean”’s parent album, DNCE, reached No. 17 on the Billboard 200, remaining on the chart for five weeks. DNCE have yet to release a second full-length album. Notably, the Jonas Brothers reunited since the album’s release. While the meaning of “Cake by the Ocean” may not be obvious, it’s still a hit pop confection.