It’s been an interesting week to ponder the varieties of flavour celebrated in song. My own senses of taste and smell are only just recovering from an assault by some evil unmusical viruses. Normally I am, of course, an epicure and a gourmand. So what flavour to start with?
Well first we must have some chocolate. That much is obvious. The Japanese hybrid idol pop/metal band Babymetal demand it. This band should not exist according to some folks. I’m rather glad they do. They’re not having my chocolate though.
I won’t be in the minority in being equally glad about JS Bach - whose Coffee Cantata features Ei Wie Schmeckt der Coffee Susse – “Ah how sweet the coffee tastes”. A beautiful piece of music about my second favourite hot drink.
Now our sensory feast continues with some kisses and sweat. Not the sweet and sour you ordered? Send it back. Gang of Four’s classic opus Damaged Goods was bound to be put into the Marconium eventually. Probably didn’t expect to be in a topic like this but it fits and it’s a prime piece of post-punk.
Pickles provide a touch of extra taste to a meal and making your own is fun. Apparently. I’ve never tried. A lot of people use dill weed but, hey, do your own thing. The Gourds do.
Now my favourite hot drink is tea but I never took to Earl Grey. Not even with honey. The Loveninjas make it sound pretty good though. A rather gorgeous piece of indie pop which sounds quintessentially English though I gather the band has the nerve to be Swedish. Whatever next?
Alan Price is what? “A great driving piece of funky Price” in fact. “It smells like lemon but it tastes like wine”. There’s a metaphor here, isn’t there? Things aren’t always what they seem? Is it a simple as that? “Sounds fantastic anyways.
There were two nominations for Tupelo Honey. Something he or she is as sweet as. I’m picking Cassandra Wilson’s slinky, sultry version.
You like a buttery biscuit base? You do? Me too. So does the bloke off Masterchef, here sampled to astonishing effect by Swede Mason. An earworm if ever I heard one. Utterly inspired madness.
By way of contrast, Isabelle Antena sings of fishes and spices to a gentle bossa nova rhythm in Le Poisson des Mers du Sud. I don’t speak the lingo but I recognise the references to vanilla, saffron and pepper.
“I feel nice! Like sugar and spice!” Yes indeed, James Brown (for it is he) is feeling good and what better metaphor?
“Bittersweet strawberry, marshmallow, butterscotch Polar bear, cashew, dixieland, phosphate, chocolate Lime, tutti frutti, special raspberry, leave it to me Three grace, scotch lassie, cherry smash, lemon freeze.”
Multiple flavours in this song by John Grant about – lost youth? Impermanence? The next life? The debate beneath the YouTube clip becomes quite heated. An utterly beautiful piece of music is all I know about it.
Dhol Foundation are both a Bhangra ensemble and a London dhol drumming school. They celebrate here the Healing Power of Turmeric. I’ve included a slightly truncated version in the Youtube list. There should also be a link to the full length piece on Spotify.
And finally. A traditional Rajasthani folk song which extols the merits of mint. That’s two, good soothing spices and herbs to end on. Both probably much better for you than chocolate. And less likely to be pinched by those Japanese girls.
Babymetal – Gimme Chocolate
JS Bach - Ei Wie Schmeckt der Coffee Susse
Gang of Four – Damaged Goods
The Gourds – Pickles
Loveninjas – Earl Grey With Honey
Alan Price – Smells Like Lemon, Tastes Like Wine
Cassandra Wilson – Tupelo Honey
Swede Mason – Masterchef Synesthesia
Isabelle Antena – Le Poisson des Mers du Sud
James Brown – I Feel Good
John Grant (feat Midlake) – I Wanna Go to Marz
Dhol Foundation – Healing With Turmeric
Rajasthani Folk Song - Podino (Mint)
Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar
Katzenjammer – Tea With Cinnamon
Steeleye Span – Gower Wassail
My Bloody Valentine – Strawberry Wine
Spearhead – Red Beans and Rice
Mostly Autumn – Bitterness Burnt
Supremes – Buttered Popcorn
Shanks and Bigfoot – Sweet Like Chocolate
Humble Pie – Black Coffee
Charlie Palmieri – Bitter Sweet
Merril Bainbridge – Mouth
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Flavor
Echo and the Bunnymen – Lips Like Sugar
Jonatha Brooke – My Sweet and Bitter Bowl
Jess Glynne (feat Emeli Sande) – Saddest Vanilla
Guru’s Wildcard Pick:
Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers – Here Come the Martian Martians
Very unlikely Martians. Fighting with rocks and stones, carrying little notebooks. What flavour ice-cream do they like?
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