It's true what they say about music: it enriches life. This is why most of the people I am drawn to are musicians, or simply have informed opinions about what they love to listen to. Luckily, a lot of my officemates have excellent taste in music (Thank God), and we ended up compiling a list of songs about food. Here they are, in no particular order.
The Beatles - Savoy Truffle
You know that what you eat, you are. But what is sweet now, turns so sour.
We all knew that George Harrison was the most far out among the Fab Four*. The extent of that far-outness comes through in this song on the White Album, said to be written about his close friend Eric Clapton's chocolate addiction, and most of the lyrics actually came from a box of Mackintosh Good News chocolates. Coincidentally, Eric Clapton himself was in a band called Cream, because he and fellow band members Jack Bruce, Clapton and Ginger Baker were considered "the cream of the crop" among jazz and blues musicians of their time.
Jimmy Buffett - Cheeseburger in Paradise
I like mine with lettuce and tomato, Heinz 57 and french fried potatoes, big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer
I owe my discovery of this song to a series of mix CDs of old school rock my older sister and her husband had given me when I was just beginning to cultivate my taste in music (Thank you, Ate!). There's just something so catchy about the honesty of this tribute to that All-American sammich - who wouldn't want to bite into a big, juicy cheeseburger after listening to it?
The Presidents of the USA - Peaches
Millions of peaches, peaches for me! Millions of peaches, peaches for free!
Anyone who came of age in the 90's knows this song. I guarantee it. Even those of us who grew up during the days of grunge's death rattle are familiar with this song dedicated to vocalist/"bassitarist" Chris Ballew's crush on a girl. Watch out for that gut-busting guitar and bass riff at 1:39 minutes into the song.
X-Ray Spex - Junk Food Junkie
Blame it on the food, yeah! You know it's bad.
In my opinion, this band does not get enough credit. Rising to fame during the mostly male-dominated Punk scene, curly-haired and crazy-eyed Poly Styrene (RIP) invaded the airways with her cutesy yet ball-busting vocals in 1976, singing about everything from bondage to junk food in a way only she could.
Shonen Knife - Sushi Bar
I wanna go to a sushi bar, I wanna go with you. Hamachi, ika, ebi, tako, maguro, kaibashira!
Chalk it up to a Japanese girl group to sing about the joys of going to a sushi bar. They've even gone through the trouble of enumerating all of the good stuff for us! This is the kind of song that's meant to be sung at the top of your voice while jumping up and down.
Trivia: Kurt Cobain watched them perform in 1991 and has often talked about how much he loved Shonen Knife's music.
Strawberry Alarm Clock - Incense and Peppermints
Turn on, tune in, turn your eyes around.
At the height of Beatlemania in the swinging sixties, a one-hit wonder band called Strawberry Alarm Clock rose to fame. If you watched the first Austin Powers film, you'll remember that the opening scene at a club had this song playing. In fact, the band actually got its name as a tribute to the Beatle song, "Strawberry Fields Forever."
Kylie Minogue - Chocolate
Hold me and control me, and then melt me slowly down like chocolate.
This song was actually food editor Migs's addition to the list. The first thing you can't help but notice (aside from Kylie's suggestive gyrations and back-up dancers) is the bass line. Funky, heavy, rippling waves of bass guitar that compel you to move your body along with them, serving as the perfect backdrop to Kylie Minogue's space-cadet vocal stylings.
Temple of the Dog - Hunger Strike
Blood is on the table, the mouths are choking, and I'm going hungry.
After the dissolution of Mother Love Bone due to vocalist Andrew Wood's untimely death from a drug overdose, Temple of the Dog picked up the pieces of where they left off. Composed of Chris Cornell (vocalist of Soundgarden) and the members of Pearl Jam (Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, Jeff Ament, Matt Cameron and vocalist Eddie Vedder), Temple of the Dog remains to be one of the most powerful side project bands of the grunge era. Chris Cornell's soaring vocals paired with Eddie Vedder's throaty howls send shivers crawling up and down my spine every time I listen to this song.
Cibo Matto - Know Your Chicken
I know my chicken! You've got to know your chicken!
This is the kind of song I listen to when I'm in the mood for loopy lyrics and I don't want to think - which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Cibo Matto has always been the kind of band I like to listen to when I don't want to take myself too seriously. The band's name actually means "crazy food" in Italian, while the two original members are Japanese expatriates based in New York.
Eraserheads - Fruitcake
Take a bite, it's alright. A little loving and some fruit to bake, life is a piece of cake.
Let's add some local flavor to this mix. This is one of the first songs I learned to play on guitar, partly for the simplicity of the chord progressions, and mostly to play out my rockstar fantasies with that D-C-E minor riff on the song's interlude. Every time I hear this song, I just want to jump out of my seat and rock out on my air guitar, and I bet you do, too.
Blur - Coffee and TV
Sociability, it's hard enough for me.
Every angsty introvert who came of age in the 90s could relate to Damon Albarn's plaintive and world-weary crooning. Even today, I find myself listening to this song and That Teenage Feeling just washes over me. The classic video of the lonely milk carton and his strawberry-flavored girlfriend cemented Blur as one of the banner-bearers of British Rock in the 90s.
Jack Johnson - Banana Pancakes
We could close the curtains, pretend that there's no world outside. We could pretend it all the time.
Trust a singer-songwriter/surfer to come up with one of the best songs dedicated to staying in on a rainy day with a loved one. If I made my living catching waves on a sunny beach and had to work my way into people's hearts with my honey-sweet voice and simple guitar stylings, I would probably see life through rose-coloured glasses, too.
Led Zeppelin - Tangerine
Thinking how it used to be, does she still remember times like these?
If I had to include a song in my official road trip soundtrack, this acoustic Led Zeppelin classic would definitely be on it. Instead of the usual meaty guitar riffs and rapid-fire drumming that John Bonham was known for, Jimmy Page traded in his axe for a pedal string guitar to lend it a little country flavor.
Tori Amos - Cornflake Girl
Rabbit, where'd you put the keys, girl?
I consider the 90s to be the golden age of what I call "Angry Girl Music." After all, that's when women like PJ Harvey, Bjork, Fiona Apple and Tori Amos were at their peak. A closer examination of the lyrics reveals that this song isn't about your everyday run-of-the-mill breakfast cereal. Tori actually got the inspiration from an Alice Walker book that dealt with brutal African tribal practices, among other unspeakable topics.
The Flaming Lips - She Don't Use Jelly
I know a girl who reminds me of Cher. She's always changin' the color of her hair. But she don't use nothin' that you buy at the store, she likes her hair to be real orange. She uses taaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaangerines!
When the Flaming Lips released this song in 1993, they were propelled to stardom almost overnight. According to the band, this is a song that's about the individual quirks that make a person unique. Interspersed with gritty riffs and vocalist Wayne Coyne's almost whimsical wailing about Vaseline, this is the kind of song that I consider aural comfort food.
I know that this list barely scrapes the surface of all the songs that have ever been written about food, but these are just some of my favorites.
What are your favorite songs about food?
Cookie Monster - C is For Cookie
Since this is an equal opportunity blog, I need to include a children's classic we are all familiar with (Thank you for reminding me, Migs!). Our favorite gluttonous blue monster from Sesame Street sang a very honest and touching song about his love for cookies!
* by far out I mean drugs, obviously