Eleven Songs About Food

Kevin Alexander

A record player cake? Yes, please!Jenn- http://jjscustomcakery.com

Love. Loss. Food.

Regardless of genre or era, music has a few throughlines and themes that seem to appear everywhere. It can be hard to pick my favorite of anything, let alone music, and let alone music discussions particular topic. If this sounds like the usual disclaimer that I’ve likely forgotten a song, that this list is subject to change, etc., trust your gut.

And with that out of the way, let's dive in:

ZZ Top- TV Dinners: Everyone’s favorite “Little Ol’ Band From Texas” pays homage to one of the greatest gifts of the Space Age with 1983’s “TV Dinners.” It’s scuzzy, has a great groove, and is everything you’d expect.

Sidenote: Shortly before he passed away, Robert Palmer (yes, that Robert Palmer) covered the song for his 2003 Drive record.

R.E.M. -Orange Crush: A song about food (or drink) in title only. The lyrics are actually about Agent Orange and written in Micahel Stipe’s inimitable oblique fashion. At least by this point, he’d begun more or less singing clearly.

I saw the band while they were out supporting this record, and it was an absolutely amazing show. NRBQ opened for them, but to be honest, their efforts were wasted on most of us.

Rupert Holmes- Escape (The Pina Colada song): To tell a good story, you need to open and then close a loop. So they tell us. Holmes went and did it, spinning a tale about adultery, discovery, and ultimately the reignition of a dying relationship.

It’s some of the tightest writing to come out of the era, and I’m willing to bet that 90% of the people picking it for karaoke at your local dive bar never need to look at the monitor — and most likely have no idea what they’re actually singing about.

Millie Small- My Boy Lollipop: Speaking of high odds, I’ll bet this song appears on a good 2/3rds of "songs about food" lists. And who could blame anyone for including it? It’s everything you want in an earworm.

Sammy Davis Jr.-The Candy Man: Seaside is a town on the Oregon Coast that is a poor man’s (or Pacific) version of Atlantic City. If you’ve been to both, you’re likely nodding your head. My family has held a family reunion there for almost a century now, and one place had this song on repeat among all of the arcades, burger joints, and boardwalk.

No, not a candy store — a place that rented Surrey bikes. Hour after hour, day after day, it would play.

Do you know the five stages of grief? I’d go through every one of them until I eventually entered a sixth: joyful nostalgia. Whenever I hear that song, it reminds me of lazy August days on one of the most beautiful coasts this planet has on offer.

P.S: Also, this.

The 1975- Chocolate: Another track that’s really about something entirely different than the title. Chocolate is apparently a euphemism for certain drugs…Or so I’ve heard.

Jimmy Buffet-Cheeseburger In Paradise: I’m not a Parrothead — or a carnivore — but it’s hard not to get swept up in the melody here. And it’s hard not to have an affinity for the world Buffet inhabits, where the sun always shines, there’s a gentle breeze, and the day is full of interesting characters. Shoes are optional. Singing along, not so much.

Maroon 5- Sugar: I’m at the point in life where if you like a song, you like a song. I don’t think you need to designate tracks as guilty pleasures or use that as a defense mechanism. That said, at a higher level — and at the risk of contradicting what I literally just wrote, that’s exactly what this song is. A fun few minutes of pure ear candy and wedding crashing. Delicious.

New Order- Tutti Frutti: If it’s a music article with no New Order, did I even write it?

Jimmy Gilmer and The Fireballs- Sugar Shack: I used to hate doing concrete work. It’s loud, messy, and really hard on your body. The work sucked, but not the people, and certainly not the boss — who happened to be my stepdad.

And he had a couple of hard & fast rules:

First: On-time actually meant ten minutes early. You never start before it’s time (“Kev, we never work for free!”), but you best be ready to go.

Second: The boss picks the station. That meant listening to the oldies station, which meant entire shifts sifting through songs I didn’t much like to hear 1 or 2 like this that I did.

Working a trade might not have been a good fit for me, but I learned many valuable lessons on how to carry yourself in the workplace. Songs like this always take me back to that era.

Beastie Boys-Egg Man: We weren't ready for Paul’s Boutique with its dense sound crafted from layers of samples. No matter. One of the hip-hop trio’s superpowers was bending the English language to their will and being equally adept no matter the topic.

They could spit bars about anything from Buddhism and the pressing issues of the day to…egging people with a slingshot.

The group sampled no less than 12 songs to make Egg man, including one of their own. Can you name them? Click here if you’re stuck.

Want to go back for seconds? Here's a full playlist with even more tracks.

What's missing from this list? Comment below with your favorite food song!

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Sharing life in Flyover Country a few hundred words at a time.

Madison, WI

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