Never There
by Cake

Album: Prolonging The Magic (1998)
Charted: 66 78

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about a long-distance relationship where the guy is really frustrated. His girl never seems to have time for him, and he wonders if she even cares. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • There is a telephone motif in this song. It starts with a dial tone before John McCrea comes in with the first lines:

    I need your arms around me
    I need to feel your touch


    His voice is processed to narrow his frequency, similar to what a telephone call sounds like, implying that he is talking over the phone, possibly after the girl hung up on him. The touchtones that sound when dialing also show up in a few spots during the song, which could indicate he's making repeated calls, hoping she'll answer. It's probably a drunk dial.
  • In the video, McCrea plays a cuckolded cowboy who hires a private detective to tell him what we already know: his girl is with another guy. Of course, she may never have been his to begin with.
  • "Never There" is the biggest hit for Cake. It's their only song to hit the Hot 100, and it also went to #1 on the Modern Rock chart. Unlike most "alternative" bands, Cake isn't heavy on guitar and the vocals are very clear. They also have a trumpet player, Vince DiFiore, who gets lots of playing time on this track. Their sound was too adventurous for most radio stations, but they carved out a niche and sold a lot of albums - Prolonging The Magic went Platinum, with over a million sales.
  • This plays during a birthday party scene in the 1999 Friends episode "The One Where Rachel Smokes."

Comments: 2

  • Fate from Montreal, CanadaThis song is as much about long distance relationships as it is about one-sided relationships. Physically, she is never there, but emotionally she is even less present. He can talk to her "On the phone, long, long distance/Always with great resistance", which is unsatisfying, possibly because it's so difficult to get her on the phone, but on a deeper level, maybe she isn't actually listening to what he has to say. I've always felt that physical distance isn't the real barrier. It's a metaphor for every relationship where one partner is less committed, leaving the singer wondering "If you even miss me". It's popular not because it's an awesome song, but because the experience of loving someone who doesn't reciprocate any more, if (s)he, ever did, is universal.
  • James from Adelaide, Australiadude, this song is awesome, it introduced me o cake after being on the triple J hottest 100 volume 6, disc 1, that compilation is just fricken awesome. i recommend it to any one who likes this song.
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