D.R.A.M. deserves to be spring concert headliner

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Graphic by Maggie More / The Flat Hat

I don’t care what boy band you were a part of a decade ago, Joe Jonas; I’m sorry, but you and your band should not be the ones headlining the College of William and Mary’s spring concert. That honor should be going to none other than Big Baby D.R.A.M., the concert’s current opener.

Yes, everybody has heard “Cake by the Ocean” ad nauseam. As much as I get a kick out of the fact that an ex-Disney star managed to score a top 40 hit using a food-based allegory for an intensely intimate sexual act, I cannot bring myself to enjoy the song beyond that small kick, with nothing in the music or lyrics striking me beyond its initial ironic value.

D.R.A.M., meanwhile, also managed to score a top 40 hit in “Broccoli”, another song in which the namesake coyly relates to its underlying content . Beyond that imagery, however, there is not only a tirelessly good beat, but also an overwhelmingly positive message about working hard at what you love and eventually gaining wealth and success from it, which is a sentiment that I think is extremely important to impress on students trying to strike a balance between passion and success.

Beyond pure song quality, popularity plays a huge role in determining what makes or breaks a headliner. DNCE undeniably has Joe Jonas, an ex-member of a band that managed to influence the childhoods of hundreds of students across our campus. This should not actually matter in terms of headlining, because DNCE is quite distinctly not The Jonas Brothers.

Although I have not formally polled the College’s entire student body, I have noticed an extremely distinct trend within our population. Whenever DNCE is mentioned, there will most assuredly be a comment regarding Joe’s old group, whether it be questioning if the other brothers will miraculously show up or wondering if Joe will sing any of his old band’s music. Being completely stuck in the shadow of a past act does not mark the character of a headliner.

D.R.A.M. lives in no such shadow, existing purely by himself as a distinct artist. His fans aren’t excited to see him because he was featured on a Chance the Rapper album, but because his own music is incredible.

Even if affiliations with past groups can be considered a valid form of criteria with what makes an artist a headliner, it is objectively wrong to say that DNCE’s inclusion of Jonas can come close to comparing with D.R.A.M.’s collaborative discography. During their tenure as a group, DNCE has written music with Nicki Minaj, helped Rod Stewart release a remix of “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”, and appeared on a non-marquee song for “My Little Pony: The Movie.” D.R.A.M., meanwhile, has worked with the aforementioned Chance The Rapper, in addition to artists such as Gorillaz, Calvin Harris and Neil Young. These artists not only span several different generations, but also managed to help define them. Disney history included, DNCE does not hold a candle to D.R.A.M.’s prior pedigree.

Finally, and most importantly, the most essential aspect of a headliner is the breadth of their catalogue. The whole point of differentiating between headliner and opener lies in how long each artist gets to perform. At the moment, DNCE has one new single, an album and an EP made up of songs from the album. D.R.A.M., on the other hand, has three EPs, a full album and a mixtape, with more features than DNCE to boot. All opinions aside, D.R.A.M. simply has more content on hand than DNCE, and thus can better fill a headlining set list.

I have nothing against Joe Jonas or his prior group: Although my skill has fallen to time, I was once proudly able to sing along to all of “Burnin’ Up”, including Big Rob’s verse. As he stands today, however, Jonas and DNCE have no right to be headlining anything over an artist with the content or skill set of D.R.A.M. The spring concert is going to be great regardless of who headlines; I just wish D.R.A.M. had proper billing.

Email Anthony Madalone at [email protected]

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