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Gin Blossoms: No Chocolate Cake

Gin Blossoms

No Chocolate Cake

429 Records

 D 

Everyone was a Gin Blossoms fan in the ‘90s. Just try looking me in the eyes and telling me “Hey Jealousy” doesn’t still mean something to you. I know it does. This is why I had been so eager to pick this particular record off the shelf and even more eager to put it back. My thought process throughout listening to this album was as follows:

Track one, “Don’t Change For Me” – Oh, oh God. This is like a bad ‘00s anthem that gets constant radio play because frat boys dedicate it to their sorority ex-girlfriends and drunken middle-aged women at barbecues call and request it every half hour. But hey, I’m only one song in. It’ll get better.


By track three, I am thinking, what the hell? Really? This is it? Track four ambles along and I get excited; there’s my Gin Blossoms! Shit. Where were you hiding at?! You had me worried for a minute there!


And then by track five I realize it was a fluke, and I have six more songs to get through. I think track number eight, “If You’ll Be Mine,” is supposed to be a ballad, but it falls so short of the mark I just can’t tell.


By the end of the eleventh and final song, I am scrambling for more entertaining things to do. Like slamming my head against my desk repeatedly, or watching the birds crap on my car from my little window. The one memorable lyric from track nine sums this record up perfectly: “You play a hit from ’89, and I’ll sing mine from ’95.” This is a once-great ‘90s band’s effort to remain relevant, and it’s actually kind of sad.

In A Word: NICKLEBACK?!

—by , September 8, 2010

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    reader responses
  1. Sorry guys, I am a true Gin Blossoms fan from 91 and I have seen them many times and even met them. “No chocolate cake” does them no justice. Seems like they tried to be commercial and forgot their roots. I think the only true blossoms songs are the ones written by Wilson. I also agree that we are not looking for “doo-wop” or a horn section. We want those wonderful and creative lyrics in which Robin convincingly puts out . “No chocolate cake” seems like a careless attempt at keeping the band on the radio. After listening to this album several times, I sit back and wonder, “when will they come out with an album similar to the others? Or even similar to Major Lodge Victory?” Which in turn kicked ass on this album. As a die-hard fan, I really can’t lost help in the guys; however I will just forget that “No chocolate cake” never happened.

    Andy on 10/28/2010 at 02:00 PM 

  2. I agree with the review. I have been to over 25 GB concerts and have a framed T-shirt with the guys signatures over my amp. Here is a link to the college radio review of the album. http://www.independentcollegian.com/no-chocolate-cake-1.2353299
    I am a bit embarassed for them. I didn’t pay for Beach Blossoms or “do wop” background vocals. R.I.P. Doug Hopkins, we all know now who had the song writing talent and cool guitar licks.

    Mike Wilson on 10/5/2010 at 11:59 AM 

  3. Odd, every other review I’ve read has only positive things to say about the album. Maybe Dani needs to lay off of the crack.

    Frank on 10/5/2010 at 05:47 AM 

  4. You can trust this reviewer NOT TO THINK, obviously, and not to SLEEP AROUND (cause I doubt he/she gets much action), AND IF I HADN’T EXPECTED TOO MUCH FROM HIM/HER, I MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN LET DOWN.

    Nathan Loves Gins on 10/4/2010 at 11:55 PM 

  5. I loved the Gin Blossoms also when they were young and had good songs, but this CD was a giant disappointment to me. Sorry, I really wanted to like it but the songs are extremely weak.

    Jessie on 10/4/2010 at 02:36 PM 

  6. Mark,

    I think you have been had. I read the guy’s name “Tommy Wisseau” and I immediately got the reference to The Room. You should expand your horizons a bit. The Nickelback (note: Nickelback, not “Nickleback”) reference is lazy and unoriginal. Even if you haven’t heard the record, it doesn’t take a genius to see this review as intellectually lazy. Name drop a couple of song names and then say how much you hate them, without any reference to the music or any comparisons to other music will leave the reader confused with little insight into what the album sounds like.

    I’ve heard the album and I’d give it a B personally. Nothing compared to NME or CIS, but not a bad album. Does it sound like the Gin Blossoms? Not really, but there are elements here and there. Robin’s tracks are pretty consistent (Wave Bye Bye, Go Cry Baby, Something Real) with a strong Gin Blossoms feel to them. Jesse’s a bit all over the place, with some that sound very alien (Don’t Change For Me, If You’ll Be Mine) but he also has a few tracks which hit the mark (Somewhere Tonight, Dead Or Alive on the 405, I Don’t Want To Lose You Now). Somewhere Tonight is probably the closest thing to a classic Gin Blossoms song on the record. I would have gone with Somewhere Tonight or Wave Bye Bye as the single. Miss Disarray is merely ok. Other than Don’t Change For Me and If You’ll Be Mine, this album sounds like a pretty solid, matured Gin Blossoms. I wish it had more rockers in the vein of Whitewash, Day Job or Hands Are Tied, but what are you going to do? A great Power Pop album with a few classic GB style ballads. Not their best album, but probably my favorite record of 2010.

    A Reasonable Person on 9/28/2010 at 04:31 PM 

  7. And here is another review if you want another opinion.
    http://www.antimusic.com/reviews/10/Gin_Blossoms_-_No_Chocolate_Cake.shtml

    Ron Cloninger on 9/28/2010 at 11:10 AM 

  8. This reviewer is just being silly. No way anyone who professes to like GB would feel the way he does about this cd.
    There are no less than 6 superb tracks here. One (I Don’t Want To Lose You Now) is already way up on my all time favorite GB songs.
    All of the songs are quality but the 6 that really stand out are
    Don’t Change For Me
    The aformentioned I Don’t want to lose you now, seriously a great song.
    Miss Disarray
    Wave Bye Bye
    Somewhere Tonight
    and Go Cry Baby
    Certainly their best since Congratulations I’m Sorry and maybe even better than that offering.
    Several songs on this cd should be hit songs. No matter what decade we are in.

    Ron Cloninger on 9/28/2010 at 11:06 AM 

  9. If you want a second opinion,there’s another review of this album on livemusicblog.com
    at http://www.livemusicguide.com/album-review-gin-blossoms-no-chocolate-cake/

    Mr.McMusic on 9/20/2010 at 05:39 PM 

  10. Honestly, what sort of moron spells “not” as “nawt”?

    Answer: The same sort of moron that doesn’t realize that advance copies of this record has been around for over a month.

    Idiot.

    It’s entertaining the everyone that hasn’t heard the record is ripping poor Dani for the Nickelback reference. It’ll all make sense come 9/28.

    Mark on 9/14/2010 at 05:34 PM 

  11. Good thing no paper was wasted on this bad review trying to be smart. But what can you expect from people referring to songs as tracks? Go download some writing/listening skills, dude.

    McDaggett on 9/11/2010 at 12:02 PM 

  12. @Mark

    How did you hear the whole album already? You did nawt listen to it! It’s not true, that’s bullshit! You did nawt listen to it…you did nawt! Oh hi Mark!

    What a story Mark, hahaha. You must be joking, aren’t you? It sounds like you are the EXPERT on good music Mark.

    Let’s go get something to eat, huh.

    @Dani
    Oh hi Dani! Don’t you have something else to do? Don’t plan to much Dani, it may not come out right. That’s how I think you wrote this review, huh.

    To write this way you are just a little chicken Dani. Cheep! Cheeep Cheep cheep! CHEEEP! cheep cheep!!! YOU ARE TEARING ME APART DANI!!!

    Tommy Wisseau on 9/11/2010 at 04:52 AM 

  13. I just saw them live a couple weeks ago and was not at disappointed with their new music… Yeah its no “Hey Jealousy” and I don’t know if anything will ever live up to that, but I thought the new songs were quite catchy and I loved the lyrics!

    Jess on 9/9/2010 at 08:18 PM 

  14. You are a complete jerk-off. No person who is remotely serious about music, the craft of writing, or just not being a total asshole would write a 5 paragraph snark-come-punch-line. Absolutely pathetic.

    MJ on 9/9/2010 at 08:40 AM 

  15. Anyone expecting another “Hey Jealousy” might be let down as that that song will never be matched. But, to use a line from it, “the past is gone, but something might be found to take its place”. “No Chocolate Cake” might not match the angst-fueled Gin Blossoms of yesteryear, but there is still a lot to like. Their unique sounds and Robin Wilson’s stellar voice, still one of the best in the business, shine on songs like “Miss Disarray” and “Somewhere Tonight” and several others, which this reveiw failed to note. The album deserves at least a “B” grade. Give it a chance. “No Chocolate Cake” shows that the Gin Blossoms are still pretty sweet!

    Dan Hamilton on 9/9/2010 at 07:28 AM 

  16. Look you in the eye and tell you that Hey Jealousy doesn’t still mean something to me? You’re right, I can’t. There are so many thing about this band that applies to. Even 17 years after the fact.

    And that’s why this review completely sums up my utter disappointment with the album.

    I’m not surprised that is no in-depth analysis of each track. The majority of the tracks are too disappointing to even warrant the effort of long diatribe about why. I had the exact same response listening to the album.

    The Nickleback comment is a shame though. Only because if it were Nickleback, it’d be easy not to care.

    If you like this album fine, but for this long time Gin Blossoms fan, this review is incredibly relatable.

    Mark on 9/9/2010 at 12:26 AM 

  17. Sounds like you just skipped from track to track. Now you are afraid to admit you are humming them to yourself. The Gin Blossoms still ROCK – go see them live! Viva Gin Blossoms!!

    zanna on 9/8/2010 at 11:03 PM 

  18. Sounds like you just skipped from one track to the next without letting anything sink in. I guarantee you were humming some of these songs later. A “D” rating was way harsh. This band still ROCKS live! Viva Gin Blossoms!!!

    zanna on 9/8/2010 at 10:55 PM 

  19. Great review. You mention 4 songs: One is a bad 00′s anthem, one is supposed to be a ballad that misses the mark, one is good for some reason, and another has a good lyric. I know less about the album than I did before. Also, like how you refer the songs by their track number rather than their title. This is some in depth helpful stuff you are providing here. I’ll take my “trying to remain relevant” (duh, of course!) Gin Blossoms over your trying to cool and mean spirited review.

    kevin tucker on 9/8/2010 at 09:49 PM 

  20. Really? Are you serious….I mean come on….u didn’t have to be that rude. It sounds like you want attention and there are better ways to get it. The gb’s have tons of fans…Im one of them….definately not a fan of yours. I have loved all their albums. To each there own….maybe someone never taught you that….

    whislegal on 9/8/2010 at 07:45 PM 

  21. You’re an ass with no taste in music !! I’d love to know what shit music you listen to. I’d like to say no offense, but your review here offensed the hell out of me being a huge gin blossoms fan.

    Susie on 9/8/2010 at 06:19 PM 


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