Everyone eats. As a result, eating makes for very relatable metaphors. Musicians haven’t been shy about using these metaphors, which has made for some very enjoyable music. Amusingly, there are even some well-known songs that are actually about eating itself rather than eating as a metaphor, though these are the exceptions rather than the rule.
10. “Eat It” – “Weird Al” Yankovic
“Weird Al” Yankovic is famous for his spoofs. In this case, “Eat It” is based on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” The spoof was very successful in its own right, as shown by how it earned “Weird Al” Yankovic a Grammy. Meaning-wise, “Eat It” is very straightforward because its viewpoint character is a parent who has become fed up with their child’s pickiness when it comes to food.
9. “Peaches” – Presidents of the United States of America
There are countless songs in which food stands for either love or sex or something related to those things. Under those circumstances, it is easy to mistake “Peaches” for one of those songs. However, it turns out that isn’t the case at all. Instead, “Peaches” is another very straightforward song. As the story goes, it was influenced by the singer Chris Ballew’s experience of going to a girl’s home with the intent of confessing his feelings for her after he had taken some hallucinogens. The lines about squishing a peach and poking a finger into the earth don’t have a deeper meaning because those were just some of the things that he did then.
8. “I Want Candy” – Bow Wow Wow
“I Want Candy” was first recorded by the Strangeloves back in 1965. Still, most people should be more familiar with it because of the Bow Wow Wow cover that came out in 1982. The latter can’t be considered a huge success, seeing as how it peaked in the double-digits in most markets. Despite that, this version went on to become something of a new wave classic.
7. “Mayonaise” – The Smashing Pumpkins
The Smashing Pumpkins have a reputation for being either thoughtful or pretentious depending on whether people like them or not. Due to this, interested individuals might have guessed that their song “Mayonaise” isn’t quite about the egg-based sauce. The funny part is that Billy Corgan has stated that he didn’t have a clear intent in mind when he wrote the lyrics, though his subconscious seems to have imbued it with meaning anyway. Some people see it as an expression of the uncertainty, innocence, and frustration of adolescence. Others have interpreted it through the lens of more general feelings of disappointment and dreariness. Whatever the case, it is clear that “Mayonaise” connected with people.
6. “Bread and Water” – Vince Gill
“Bread and Water” is about a homeless man who managed to find salvation at a mission while seeking some food to sustain him. Vince Gill has stated that the song was inspired in part by his brother, who never managed to fully recover from a near-fatal car accident. Due to that, the man would sometimes wander around with the result that his family wouldn’t know where he was during those periods.
5. “Buttered Popcorn” – The Supremes
This song wasn’t that successful when it was released. Even so, there are plenty of people who consider it to be one of the Supremes’ best songs, particularly since it stands out by being the sole single to feature Florence Ballard as the sole lead. Regardless, the song makes for a very funny image when one reads its lyrics in the most literal manner possible. However, those who see innuendo in them wouldn’t be the first to do so. Indeed, potential “double meaning” was a key reason that “Buttered Popcorn” never received much promotion from the record label.
4. “The Onion Song” – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
“The Onion Song” was released in 1969. The titular bulb is used as a metaphor for the suffering in the world, which makes people cry in much the same way that an onion can make people cry. What makes “The Onion Song” interesting is that it uses this as a call to action for people to overcome the suffering in the world through their love and kindness.
3. “Ham ‘N’ Eggs – A Tribe Called Quest
“Ham ‘N’ Eggs” is a song from A Tribe Called Quest’s very first studio album. It is a hilarious reminder of how the popular consensus on the nutritional value of eggs has gone back and forth in recent decades. The song suggests that eggs are bad for being high in cholesterol. More recent findings have enabled eggs to make a comeback, though this is still very much a subject of much contention on the whole.
2. “Sugar Mountain” – Neil Young
Neil Young wrote “Sugar Mountain” about his youth. The interesting part is that he did so on his 19th birthday, which most people would consider to be a part of youth as well. Still, 19th birthdays do tend to be times of great transition, meaning that the basic sentiments carry over well. Young has said that he was inspired to write the song by a friend who was feeling sad that he could no longer spend time with any of his friends at his favorite club because the place had a rule that forbade people who are 21 or older.
1. “American Pie” – Don McLean
The meaning of “American Pie” has been debated much since its initial release in 1971. For a long time, the singer and songwriter Don McLean refused to elaborate too much on what he had intended by its lyrics. That changed in 2015 when the original manuscript was auctioned off for $1.2 million. As it turned out, much of the speculation was correct. “American Pie” was indeed about a transition away from more idyllic times. Furthermore, multiple references were confirmed as well, though it is interesting to note that Bob Dylan seems to have been less than pleased about being referred to as “the Jester.”