DNCE & Nicki Minaj's Song Is All About Embracing The Single Life

by S. Atkinson
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That "na na na" refrain is haunting you, and you can't help but get down when it comes on the radio. But what does DNCE and Nicki Minaj's "Kissing Strangers" mean, anyway? It's OK if you're confused, because in short, it's about all the things. It's about living in a vast city where it's hard to make meaningful connections. It plays upon the fact that our generation has stayed single way longer than any other generation before it. And hey, given that it might be a matter of months or years until your soul-twin comes knocking, you might as well have some fun while you're waiting.

The song is also refreshingly carefree about the fact that no, it doesn't make you a terrible person to smooch someone you don't know incredibly well. It might even be kind of liberating. This makes it the perfect track for the "No Frauds" singer, who broke things off with her longtime boyfriend Meek Mills back in January 2017 and who, from the sounds of this song, is letting her hair down and enjoying single life. However, this track makes far less sense for DNCE, fronted by lead vocalist Joe Jonas, who is rumored to be dating Game of Thrones' Sophie Turner.

Verse 1

Aye, I'm just trying to make way out to the concrete jungle
Who walks with me?
Aye, oh you trying to find connection in 2000 something, ain't easy

The city's fun, but it can be lonely, too. There's so many people that you'd think connection would be a no-brainer, but when there's so many possibilities, people find it hard to commit to just one person.


Can't quit, take six
Wanna taste you
Language, use lips
Kissing strangers (oooh)

This bit is pretty cryptic, but let's dive right in. I think Jonas is talking about how body language is just that: another form of communication. In short, replace words with tongue when communing with strangers tonight. (Warning: Do not try this on anyone who's already in a relationship.)

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Na na na na na na na na
'Til I find someone I love
Na na na na na na na na
Kissing strangers (oooh)
Na na na na na na na na
'Til I find someone I trust
Na na na na na na na na
Kissing strangers (oooh)
Open heart, open mind
Never know who you'll find
Open heart, close your eyes
Kissing strangers (oooh)
Na na na na na na na na
'Til I find someone I love
Na na na na na na na na
Kissing strangers

This is pretty clear, right? The protagonist of the song is single. They haven't met the right person yet. But instead of mooching about in their room bemoaning their single status, they're out celebrating it. They're smart and realize that the only way to change that is to keep an open mind. That, if you think about your smug coupled pals, at some point their soulmate was a stranger to them, too. So one way forward is to lock lips with a few people you don't know. You know, only if you want to, obviously.

Verse 2

Aye, all misinformation open to interpretation
Just keep searching
Me, hyperventilating, blocking up my circulation
No waiting

I guess this is a reference to the internet age and how in our era of super fast news, a lot of gossip spreads fast. Hey, and I'm not even talking about fake news, I'm talking about ambiguous flirty pics on Instagram making you think your co-worker is practically engaged, or that weird overshare Facebook post that made you think that friend of a friend is finally splitting up from their girlfriend.

This is cool, though, because it also neatly aligns with the way a "search" for the right person can become an internet search (I guess via Tinder or the like), leading to someone getting pretty stressed because they're not willing to simply wait around for their future boy/girlfriend anymore.

Verse 3

I got a boy that I kinda like
This is a kiss-kiss, tongue him down kind of night
He got that umm-umm, heard he got that China white
He got that bomb, I think I'ma call him dynamite
I gotta lotta sons, I can show you all the sonograms
Me? I’m Jem, and these b*tches is the holograms
Me? I win and these b*tches just lose
They ships sink, but my ship is just cruise
Anyway, I’m back, but my baby got, gimme piggy back
Drip drip, with a kitty cat, put it in his lap
Sip sip, on the tip tip, lick on his lip-lip
I think he tryna hit young Nic' like a quick pick

This is Minaj's only big outing on the record, so you've got to give her a moment to get some stuff off her chest. She starts on-topic: She's smooching someone she's not besotted by, but that's OK, because it's fun, he's hot ("He got that bomb... I'ma call him dynamite").

But then, there's time to quickly destroy the competition. As pointed out by Genius commenter angelc98, Minaj has previously referred to her rivals as "sons" before, and according to this verse, they're barely any competition at all. They're holograms to her Jem (a reference to the '80s TV show, Jem And The Holograms), they're sinking ships while she's cruising.

Finally, she's back to the present. Some guy is trying to chat her up, but wouldn't you if you were that guy in a bar with the woman behind "Make Love"?

In short, Minaj and Jonas are encouraging you, yes you, to get out there tonight (if you're single, obviously) and take advantage of it. So make sure you pay homage to this super catchy pop hit in the most appropriate way possible. It'd be a crying shame not to.