Sounding like a suburban, melodic white-funk-injected version of King Missile's performance art/standup comedy, "The Distance" became a novelty hit in the fall of 1996, sending Cake's second album, Fashion Nugget, to platinum status. Certainly, "The Distance" was the only reason Fashion Nugget went platinum, because the remainder of the album is too collegiate and arcane for mainstream music tastes. It isn't because it's obscure or intellectual -- it's because the band is smirking. An "ironic" cover of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" is the key to the album, sending the signal that Cake consider themselves above everyone else, and nothing is too insignificant to make fun of. And that wouldn't necessarily have been a problem if they had the wit or musical skills that would make their music either funny or listenable. Instead, they wallow in sophomoric jokes that rely on self-consciously elaborate wordplay. Occasionally, their blend of collegiate musical styles -- funk, hip-hop, alternative rock -- makes the music easy to digest in small doses, such as "The Distance," but it isn't varied enough to prevent the album from becoming tedious when played straight through.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine