Just over two years ago, I asked for suggestions around songs involving the senses. Needless to say, this ended up being a gargantuan thread, with the easy decision made to split it out.
/Senses Working Overtime/Taste
So, this is the first of six posts on the senses. This was finally dragged out from my “to do, sometime” list by the addition, at last, last week of the loss/change of sense of smell or taste to the list of symptoms likely to suggest that you have COVID-19 in the UK. So, songs on the sense of taste are first, and smell will follow in a couple of weeks time (after next week’s /Tracks of the Month post).
As became obvious while looking through this list, songs involving taste are often not about eating or food. Anyway, including another request last week to top-up what I had, there were 73 song suggestions for Taste. Eleven had already been used, and there were 58 unique songs, suggested by 42 different people. Thanks, as ever, for your input, everyone.
A quick explanation for new readers (hi there!): my Tuesday Ten series has been running since March 2007, and each month features at least ten new songs you should hear – and in between those monthly posts, I feature songs on a variety of subjects, with some of the songs featured coming from suggestion threads on Facebook.
Feel free to get involved with these – the more the merrier, and the breadth of suggestions that I get continues to astound. Otherwise, as usual, if you’ve got something you want me to hear, something I should be writing about, or even a gig I should be attending, e-mail me, or drop me a line on Facebook (details below).
/Lips Like Sugar
/Echo & the Bunnymen
For all their dour reputation, the Bunnymen could belt out astonishing, bright pop songs if they really wanted to, and this is the perfect example of that – and also their last great single before the swooning comeback of Nothing Lasts Forever a decade later. The initially, bass-heavy post-punk groove is punctured by the soaring chorus, that celebrates kisses that taste wondrous – specificially, of course, like sugar. This is far from the only song featured this week – and when dealing with the other senses! – that entwines senses and sex…
/In the Zone
Britney Spears, in one of her most celebrated songs, also takes the idea of the taste of one’s lips specifically, but in a very different direction. Here, she’s trying to resist a lover that is bad for her (poisonous!), but she just can’t get enough of the taste of those, uh, lips. I mean, fair enough, we’ve all fallen for people that are bad for us, but so good in other ways, right? This song, too, was a wild ride. Bollywood influences (particularly those strings) mashed up with energetic electro-pop, and a rare example of autotuning that actually works without being irritating. A monster hit both chart-bound and critically, the most amazing thing is that seventeen years on, it still doesn’t feel to have aged a day.
/The Presidents of the United States of America
I don’t eat a great deal of raw fruit – I never really have. But I do like them in desserts, or yoghurts, or in cocktails. That said, I do like peaches a lot, although perhaps not quite as much as The Presidents of the United States of America, whose nagging earworm on the subject – and how great they taste, among other things – immediately took back up residence in my head once the first person suggested it the other week. The video – involving peach trees, the band and ninjas – is well-worth rediscovering again, too…
/Sweet Like Chocolate
/Swings and Roundabouts
Back in the pre-Millenial summer of 1999, this song was inescapable. It blared out of radios, shops, cars, fucking everywhere. And I’m not going to lie, I hated it. I never really got with UK Garage for the most part (I was far more interested in drum’n’bass in terms of dance music at the time), and this was the commercially-friendly end of it, too. Still, it fits the bill nicely this week: chocolate as love/lust is a common metaphor, that’s for sure, I love the taste of chocolate (I’ve rarely met a chocolate I don’t like), although I’m not sure I’d compare the taste of a lover to chocolate…
/Eat the Menu
/Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week!
As I’ve noted before The Sugarcubes were a very strange band, their often jarring stylings (particularly between the barked vocals of Einar Orn and Björk’s experimental melodicism) making them a difficult band to appreciate at times. Some stories about the band’s live shows (including this excellent story of Björk offering the crowd yoghurt, then throwing it at them!) make that point even clearer. This song starts out with Björk chastising Einar for his food choices, before they begin to consider what it would be like to be different animals, with simpler food needs, and wondering what that might taste like…
/Queen of Denmark
John Grant, across his solo career, has made a habit of writing beautiful, heartbreaking songs, and Marz is one of the earlier ones from his debut solo release. Apparently Marz is a diner that he used to go to as a child, and the laundry list of great-tasting, mostly-sweet food and drink is a nod back to a more innocent time, before he had to deal with the difficulty of coming out as a gay man. This song is, by the way, absolutely astonishing live, as he imbues it with even more power and emotion than he does on record.
/Welcome To Wherever You Are
Entirely unsurprisingly, Michael Hutchence was not singing about sweet foods here, and the implication being that the “Taste” here is, yet again, forbidden or clandestine love and attraction (a common theme in their songs, needless to say). Still, this is one of the last of the run of fantastic singles that INXS released while Hutchence was alive, particularly notable for that rise through the scales in the chorus that seems to take one step further up the ladder with every slash of the guitar.
/Auf der Maur
Melissa Auf der Maur appears to be torn up with desire for an absent lover, on this excellent song from her debut album. Every word and line and this song fizzes with desire and weakness, as if she can’t do anything without a…taste of that lover that she’ll get to eventually. It has been a long time since I last listened to this album, too – I remember seeing her band around the time of the release of this album at least once, I seem to recall supporting A Perfect Circle in Manchester.
Yes, another song about the taste of sex. The final song on GOLD’s album No Image, and like much of their earlier material, it is a more raw, almost feral sound than the lush, produced beauty that their recent album Why Aren’t You Laughing? displayed. This is a song rather explicitly about the sense of taste in sex, although the way Milena Eva’s vocals are mixed into the drum-heavy mix, you have to listen fairly closely to decipher the detail.
/I’m Sick of You Tasting of Somebody Else
/A Virgin’s Tale – Volume II
Finally this week, the only song that was suggested on the subject that covers the taste of someone else. A surprisingly jaunty-sounding song, really, for one that is dealing with searing jealously and fury, Almond is even accompanied by a choir of backing vocals that pretty much turns it into a musical number! Which is all the more surprising when you listen to the lyrics, as Almond details a lover who has come home, tasting of another lover as soon as he kisses them. At least, wash your mouth out before coming home, eh?