Food&Drink and Music writers and Editors come together to look at some tasty tunes that they would recommend

Aimee Sargeant: Glass Animals – Tangerine

Naturally when thinking about what to write for this collaboration, I was drawn towards Glass Animals. Their latest album Dreamland includes multiple songs that are related to food in some sense. However, ‘Tangerine’ is by far my favourite. Glass Animals create a bubbly, retro and fun track with ‘Tangerine.’ The electronic nature of this track really reinforces the retroness of Glass Animals, the computerised beat uplifts the song and becomes stuck in your head. It is the perfect track to listen to during Summer, it sounds sun-drenched – just like a tangerine. The lyrics sometimes sound like nonsense: ‘As cold as an old ice cream sandwich/ As focused as Mr. Miyagi/ You poke at your phone postin’ aerial photos/ Of you and your smoothie.’ However, the lyrics have a deeper meaning. Frontman Dave Bayley explains that ‘The song is about seeing someone get lost in the unimportant things in the world…to the point where they lose what made them unique and incredible.’ The contrast that the lyrics have with the quirky and psychedelic-pop backing just shows that not everything is what it seems on the surface. Like a Tangerine isn’t what it seems on the outside until you peel the skin off.

Sammy Andrews: The Maine – American Candy

American Candy by The Maine is one of my favourite albums of all time, and so naturally I had to include the titular track ‘American Candy’ in this delectable list of songs. This was the album that saw The Maine leaning into a more pop filled pop-rock sound, and yet ‘American Candy’ despite its bright title is far from bubblegum-pop. The song acts as a metaphor for excess and addiction, and although sugar-sweet in name, has a paradoxically dark feeling to it. As the chorus loudly bursts open with drums and guitars, the vocal straining of the lyrics ‘Even if you wanted to you couldn’t stop it’s just so sweet / But this American Candy, It’ll rot your teeth’ feels like desperation. The entire song is driven by an intense pounding drumbeat, and moments of vocal echoes throughout feel hauntingly inescapable. This idea of American Candy works brilliantly for its antithetical nature – on an album with such upbeat pop-rock songs, the titular track takes an unexpected turn. Sweetness turns to sickliness as John concludes the song: ‘I don’t fancy American Candy.’

Chloë Hyde: Fickle Friends – Sugar 

My first introduction to Fickle Friends was at Boardmasters Festival in 2017, just before the release of their latest EP at the time entitled Glue. Along with ‘Sugar,’ the EP included the tracks ‘Glue’ and ‘Vanilla’ (which then prompted lead singer Natti to remark that they would not be the most ideal ingredients for a cake). The sickly sweet, bouncy, and upbeat rhythm to ‘Sugar’ overrides the almost frustrated tone of the lyrics; two people, evidently not on the same page. The contrast of bitterness and sweetness in ‘Sugar’ speaks to both the ups and downs of relationships and the difficulty of trying to find the perfect balance in order for things to work. The stand-out musical element of this track is definitely the funky, exciting bass-line which runs throughout the entirety, helping to keep in tune with the 80s Synth-Pop vibe of Fickle Friends as a band. This song will always transport me back to my first festival, something which was also extremely fun and very far from sour.

Cara-Louise Scott: The 1975 – Chocolate

If you like chocolate, you’ll love The 1975’s melt-in-you-ears single ‘Chocolate.’ This was one of the first songs they released on their self-titled debut album. The song navigates the tough years of growing up in a small town, and feeling like you’re never going to get out, something I’m sure we can all relate to before we came to university. While the song has a heavy use of euphemisms for anti-social items, the song holds deeper metaphors if you listen to the carefully repetitive lyrics. This song always takes me back to when I first listened to the track on a NOW CD in the car before I rediscovered them years later and became the fan I am today. This is the perfect song to listen to whilst you’re driving around or on a train somewhere – the sweetness of the chocolate mentioned makes the song have a soft touch to it, especially with the way Matty articulates the word. I’d recommend listening to ‘Chocolate’ while eating your favourite chocolate and remember: you’ve made it out of that small town.

Georgia Brooks: Jack Johnson – Banana Pancakes

This is the song to listen to when you wake up on a rainy Sunday morning with a day of doing nothing ahead of you – it always takes me back to big weekend breakfasts at home. The Instagram poet Atticus’ quote: ‘I want to be with someone, who dreams of doing everything in life, and nothing, on a rainy Sunday afternoon’ perfectly encapsulates the energy of this song. From Johnson’s 2005 album In Between Dreams, ‘Banana Pancakes’ is the epitome of his laid-back reggae-folk-rock style and in fact Johnson himself said it began as his way of distracting his wife when she got side-tracked by other things and he just wanted to hang out, evolving into a fully formed song through live performances. It’s a reminder to appreciate the small things in your life and slow down once in a while, which resonates especially at the moment with the chaotic return to normality after a year long hiatus. So my advice is to grab those old bananas sitting on the side and turn them into the perfect relaxed weekend breakfast (just add flour, milk, egg and maybe some cinnamon to make the batter) with the soundtrack to match.

Charlotte Davies: Harry Styles – Watermelon Sugar

A song shedding strawberries under a summer light is Harry Styles’ ‘Watermelon Sugar.’ Ironically for a song with this title, the reference to strawberries occurs within the first line of verse one: ‘Tastes like strawberries on a summer evenin’/ And it sounds just like a song./ I want more berries and that summer feelin,’ it’s so wonderful and warm.’ Strawberries are elevated to be the summer treat with which we tend to associate them with. However, it has been confirmed by Mr Styles himself that his song is actually about a specific sexual experience, which is analogised further as we approach the chorus. But when ‘strawberries’ are repeated at the start of the subsequent two verses, we can’t help but wonder what juicy behaviour the ‘watermelon sugar high’ of strawberry tasting refers to.

Sofia Salazar Studer: BTS – Butter

If ‘Dynamite’ was the 2020 summer song, then ‘Butter’ is its 2021 equivalent. After coming out on May 21st, 2021, ‘Butter’ by BTS has racked up over 580 million views on YouTube and held the record number of streams on Spotify in a single day until Adele’s new single ‘Easy on Me’ released on October 15th.

Even people who do not listen to KPOP or BTS have heard the song by now, and for good reason; it is so undeniably catchy – forget about not having it stuck in your head after even one listen. Since then, they have released a remix with Megan Thee Stallion; a remix which, although fun to listen to, will never come close to the original. Butter’s dance is fun and easy to learn (something I would recommend, if only for the serotonin) and one listen can lift my spirit like no other – it is a breath of summer air, even now as we slowly start our descent into the cold winter.

Finally, I wanted to take a moment of silence for J-Hope, who had to eat way too much butter while keeping a straight (if not happy) face to film the music video’s end scene. Thank you for your service.

Samantha Hicks: Cocteau Twins – Cherry-Coloured Funk

‘Cherry-Coloured Funk’ encapsulates everything that is great about dream pop: distorted guitar, drawling vocals, and an overall ethereal, other-worldly feel. Being a huge Cocteau Twins fan, it was only natural that their iconic track ‘Cherry-Coloured Funk’ was one of the first food-related songs to come to my mind. For the three short minutes of its duration, you are transported to another planet (or even another universe altogether in true dream pop style) – yet it is one of those songs that you can listen to on repeat and never get bored. Living up to its title, ‘Cherry-Coloured Funk’ is a sugary-sweet tune that manages to capture a sense of ennui and sadness that cannot quite be placed.

Cocteau Twins are famous for their lyrics, or rather their lack thereof, and ‘Cherry-Coloured Funk’ is no exception. There could well be mention of the fruit within the song, but Elizabeth Fraser’s use of glossolalia (the phenomenon of using what seems like a made-up language) leaves everything up to interpretation. One would think that having almost no clue what words were being sung would hinder the enjoyment of the song, but this could not be further from the case. Fraser’s powerful vocals transcend any sort of language, so whether she is singing audible sentences is somewhat irrelevant to the captivated listener, the emotion is clearly conveyed regardless. Not only this, but the open-ended nature of the song arguably increases your enjoyment of the track – with no set lyrics, the song can mean anything to anyone, and discussions about people’s interpretations make for a rich and lasting impact on the individual. No two lyric websites give the same answer, and that is the beauty of it all. Poetic yet melancholic, ‘Cherry-Coloured Funk’ is a fruit-infused masterpiece.

Lorcan Drury: Lana Del Rey – Cherry

Lana Del Rey is no stranger to referencing food and drink in her lyrics: from Pepsi Cola to cinnamon, she has a way of transforming any edible or drinkable substance into something exotic and erotic. ‘Cherry,’ one of my favourite tracks from her fourth studio album Lust For Life, is no different. Del Rey is synonymous with cherries: she mentions them throughout her career in other tracks like ‘Carmen’ and ‘Black Beauty.’ But why, out of all the fruit, does she refer to cherries so often?

Cherries represent luxury and sweetness so they perfectly encapsulate her aesthetic. With the main lyric of the track being a list of opulent food and drink, ‘My cherries and wine, rosemary and thyme / And all of my peaches are ruined,’ Del Rey suggests that her lover is tainting everything beautiful in her life. In the first verse, she explores how their love gives her an adrenaline rush, however, in the second verse, she begins to question their relationship. Her lyricism is so visceral: ‘it’s like smilin’ when the firin’ squad’s against you’ suggests she’s reached heightened sense of euphoria, despite her luxuriance deteriorating. It is tragic and a classic Del Rey conundrum.

The song’s production enhances the lyrics further. It is sensuous, macabre and thrilling, with her sultry vocals and trembling bass. The bridge is ethereal: the drastic change from the hypnotic and soft cooing to an explosive declaration of love. Overall, the track is an addictive and entrancing experience. ‘Cherry’ really is the cherry on top of Del Rey’s discography.

Hannah Vernon: The Presidents of the United States of America – Peaches

I re-encountered ‘Peaches’ perhaps three years ago, having been raised primarily on Nineties Rock and yet somehow omitting this particular song from memory. In hindsight, I am not altogether sure how.

Upon first listening, it sounds like a parody. Considering that it is a full three minutes devoted almost entirely to describing the malleability of peaches, at times almost reverentially, it is not difficult to reach this conclusion. It is not precisely satire hopefully no peaches were offended post-release but is certainly amusing. The listener eventually overcomes the obstacle of its odd subject matter and the subjective value of the fruit itself, and finds it a pleasantly cheerful experience. Singing ‘millions of peaches’ after a catching instrumental break always raises a smile.

Euphemistic connotations aside, this song certainly makes for an upbeat seasonal selection. Pumpkins might be all the rage, but perhaps we ought to give their furry orange counterparts a squeeze. Napping beneath a twisted peach tree admittedly sounds like a wholesome autumnal activity. This song may not be a lyrical masterpiece, but its premise is clear and somewhat comforting in its randomness.

Peaches may not be my fruit of choice, but The Presidents of the United States of America have here succeeded in convincing me of the merits of this homely orange fruit. Justin Bieber ought to keep his ‘peaches down in Georgia,’ for I am rather craving the ripened peaches I can apparently get myself for free!

Chelsie Henshaw: Mika – Lollipop

‘Lollipop’ by Mika is definitely up there for me in terms of songs that are reminiscent of my childhood. Growing up we would listen to the Life in Cartoon Motion album non-stop on car journeys. Myself and my younger sister would choreograph dance routines to ‘Lollipop’ with an imaginary lollipop as a prop and later showcase them to family members. For me, the song is not just simply nostalgic, but is just generally a feel-good tune. 

The recurring theme of the lollipop perfectly encapsulates the child-like energy that emanates throughout the song. The lollipop is emblematic of the innocence we have as children, untainted by the world. This is why the song is such a great one to listen to when ‘love’, or life in general, ‘get[s] [you] down’ because it reminds you of a simpler, carefree period in life – especially for those in their 20s who grew up with the song.

Overall, Lollipop is a catchy, upbeat song that I still seem to know all of the lyrics to – it is definitely one to dance to in the kitchen or add to a playlist for a long journey.


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