Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means it’s time to loosen your belts for all the glorious food you’ll ingest. To prepare for stuffing, gravy, pies, and family fights, here are some songs to get you in the spirit of the season. Granted, not all the songs are about food, in fact most of them aren’t, but they at least have some sort of food in the title. Try not to get hungry while you’re reading. Save up that strength for next week!

“Hot Dog” – LMFAO

Since this track comes from the party rockin’ duo, you know this song is going to be anything but serious. The cheesy disco inspired track that makes you think of Donna Sommers’ “Bad Girls,” talks about going to the club and getting a hot dog right after. That’s right, this is a track dedicated to the plump meat. The duo talks about what makes a good hot dog (onions and green peppers) and how some vendors “be faking”  with their wares. It’s a weird song, but it’s pretty fun and who hasn’t had that extreme craving for a hot dog? (Make mine Chicago style, please).

“Cherry Pie” – Warrant

Everyone knows this song is not about pie, (spoiler it’s about sex) but it still remains Warrant’s biggest hit. And they hated it. The track was originally not supposed to be on their 1990 album, but the president of Columbia Records, their label at the time, wanted a hit single. So they threw something together and the result was this hit. It was so huge that the company demanded they change the name of the album from Quality You Can Taste to Cherry Pie. The band hated the song, especially because many marked it the end of hair metal. It’s kind of sad thinking singer Jani Lane had a legacy he hated.

“Satan Gave Me a Taco” – Beck

In this bluegrass inspired song, Beck sings about a rotten taco Satan gave to him and how it lead to his downfall. It all started with a taco that had chicken that was “all raw and the grease was mighty thick. The rice was all rancid and the beans were so hard.” From there things get worse for the singer as he tries to find a drink, gets beaten by an old woman who thinks he’s a freak, almost gets decapitated, smokes some heroin, and eventually opens up a taco stand in hell. So I guess the moral is don’t eat tacos from Satan no matter how good they look.

“Chop Suey!” – System of a Down

System of a Down’s debut single put them on the charts and grabbed mainstream media by the throat. The racing guitars and Serj Tankian’s abrupt singing style made everyone take notice. It’s still regarded as one of their best songs. Of course, it’s not about a Chinese stew, but about how people are thought of differently depending on how they die. It’s not really clear where the title of the song came from. Some say it steamed from them having to make the title more radio friendly, others say it’s a play on word suicide: “Suey-cide.” Who knows. Side note: A classmate of mine in 7th grade used to sing the opening verse and got amazing when someone else knew the “real thing” as he puts it. I don’t know why I remember that.

“M+M’s” – Blink-182

So it may not be spelled exactly like the candy, but it’s pretty close. This is one of Blink’s earliest songs that talks about the perils of liking a friend and not wanting to spend nights alone anymore. It has a lot of their humor in it and is pretty catchy with the speeding guitars and Mark Hoppus’ flat, yet charming delivery. The song didn’t receive much radio airplay, but the video did get banned from MTV because it showed gun violence. Once you actually watch the video, you see how tame it really is.

“Eat It” – “Weird Al” Yankovic

When it comes to songs about food “Weird Al” is the king. Since he loves talking about food so much, many of his songs could’ve been on here. But this is the one that popped into my head instantly. This classic takes the popular Michael Jackson track “Beat It” and turns it into a song about eating what’s on your damn plate. “Weird Al” crafted it be just as catchy as the original tune along with an almost shot-for-shot remake of the video. As always, it’s hilarious and may make you a little hungry.

“I Like Food” – The Descendents

This seminal punk band gets straight to the point with this track. Clocking in at only 16 seconds, the lyrics are nothing but “I like food/food tastes good” shouted over and over by frontman Milo Aukerman. He then goes on to talk about “greasy fries” and “juicy burgers,” making your mouth water. It’s short and sweet, but you can’t disagree with the message: food is indeed good. With it’s rapid pace and wild vocals, this track is perfect for the upcoming holiday because it captures how you feel while choking down that last turkey leg. Then of course comes the regret, which you get over once the sweet potato pie comes out. Fun fact: Taking Back Sunday covered this song on their track “Suburban Home/I Like Food.”

“Mexican Seafood” – Nirvana

No song captures Kurt Cobain’s fascination with the human body like this one. Having nothing to do with food at all, the song talks about disgusting human fluids (cum, diarrhea, blood) and a body that’s badly infected. The chorus is Cobain hoarsely singing “Only hurts when I- hurts when I pee.” Whatever disease he’s singing about it does not sound nice. It’s one of the band’s weird, off beat songs that never made it on to any of their albums. Instead it made it’s first appearance on the 1992 rarities collection Incesticide.” It’s a short, yet gross track that reminds you the human body isn’t always so nice to us.

“TV Dinners” – ZZ Top

ZZ Top are some pretty cool guys, but this has got to be one of their strangest songs. It’s exactly what the title says; there’s no underlying message or symbolism here. This track is about TV dinners and which types are the best. It seems to be a love/hate relationship with the food as shown in the line “TV dinners my skin is turnin’ red/Twenty year old turkey in a thirty year old tin.” Even though it reminds you how sad and gross the dinners can be, this guy can’t enough of them. It’s a simple, yet funny song from the guys with some slick and killer riffs (would you expect anything less?).

“Ham ‘n’ Eggs” – A Tribe Called Quest

Though this is a humorous track from the rap outfit, it still celebrates eating good food. Though they all claim not to eat ham n eggs “because they’re high in cholesterol” they happily rap about their favorite meals like turkey, collard greens, chicken, and beef jerky. By the end one of them admits to eating the dish all the time. Even though it’s on the lighter side, it’s still impressive with smooth rhythms and flawless flow. The guys obviously had fun while making the song, but put the same amount of passion and heart that they do for their other material. It’s a cool song that would be perfect to play while everyone is chowing down on Thanksgiving.

“This is Not a Song, It’s a Sandwich” – Psychostick

Psychostick are the “Weird Al” of the metal world. They may not have mainstream popularity, but they’re pretty well known online. A lot of their songs have silly lyrics about the awesomeness of beer, boring chores, taking a shower, and the epicness of beards just to name a few. They have a few songs that talk about food, but this is funniest. Despite the heavy guitars and throbbing drums, this is not a song. It’s a sandwich. That’s the entire track. Psychostick talks about why you are indeed listening to a sandwich. It’s funny, strange, and weird, but fucking great. Even though it’s funny, it’s something you can bang your head to. If you haven’t heard of this band, check out the rest of their catalog.

“Custard Pie” – Led Zeppelin

In the same vain as Warrant, this is not about a delicious desert used frequently in comedy sketches. This is yet another song about sex as so eloquently put by Robert Plant on the line “I chew on a piece of your custard pie.” This song has everything that’s great about Led Zeppelin: Plant’s wild, howling vocals, Bonham’s powerful drumming, and Page’s heavily Blues-inspired riff. The sound is dirty, rough, and little bit sleazy, which could also be applied to what they’re talking about. It’s a classic track from Zeppelin that shows how they blended Blues and hard rock flawlessly. Maybe this one isn’t appropriate for the family, though.

“Fresh Strawberries” – Franz Ferdinand

This is a clever song from the Scottish band that uses the fruit as metaphor for death. It’s painted right in the opening lyric: “We are fresh strawberries/Fresh burst of red strawberries/Ripe, turning riper in the bowl/We will soon be rotten/We will all be forgotten.” It’s actually an interesting and creative way to talk about the inevitable end of life. Though the topic is bleak the music is actually upbeat and happy sounding, taking cues from ’60s psychedelic rock. If you don’t want to bring down the holiday party it’s best to avoid this one.

“Peaches” – Presidents of the United States America

Surprisingly, this is one of the few songs that’s actually about the food it’s named after. This simple tune talks about a man who is going to move to the country and eat a lot of peaches. It’s one of those weird, yet lovable songs from the ’90s where you’re not sure what you like about it. You just know it’s good. The song is actually about a girl singer Chris Ballew had a crush on. He wrote it while sitting under a peach tree as he waited for her to show up to confess his love. Whether you love the catchy hook or the ridiculous ninja filled video, it’s one of those songs you can’t help but like.

“American Pie” – Don McLean

It would be wrong to not include this song on the list. This is the first tune people think of when it comes to food songs, even though it’s not about food. This American classic is about the death of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens aka The Day the Music Died. It’s one of those staples in music that everyone knows about. It’s also one of those songs where the only words you know are the chorus. It lamented the end of an era in a deceiving way since the music sounds pretty upbeat. I’m pretty sure there’s an unwritten rule that says you have to hear this song at least once in your life.

“The Thanksgiving Song” – Adam Sandler

C’mon, this is one of the few Thanksgiving songs out there. It had to be on here! It’s from a time when Adam Sandler was actually funny and creative. On the track he talks about eating turkey while making several pop culture references to Mike Tyson, Betty Grable, Jimmy Walker, and Sammy David and how he only had one eye. It actually sounds like Sandler put in random lyrics because they rhymed, but it’s still fucking funny. Just check it out for yourself.

What are some of your food related songs? Let me know and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Foo_Fighters_8LP_Sonic_HighwaysRelease Year: 2014

Rating: 7.5/10

If you haven’t heard about the new Foo Fighters album, you must be living in a cave somewhere. This was the most anticipated and talked about LP for most of the year. The HBO show got constant coverage, which increased as soon as the band announced the new album. Whenever a new song was revealed hundreds of articles came out talking about it. The album is finally out and…it’s good. Though the record itself is as good as any other Foo Fighters record, it was so overexposed it made for expectations it never reached.

The way the media and the band themselves talked about the show and album, you expected something epic; something that’ll blow your mind. They try to live up to these expectations on the first two tracks, arguably the best ones here. “Something From Nothing” starts off mellow and somber, with muted vocals and guitars. From there it constantly builds up keeping the listener on edge. You just know that BOOM of kick ass music is around the corner. As the song goes on things get more intense before the beast is unleashed and there’s a fury of hard rock goodness. This is the moment you were waiting for. It’s a ferocious song and one of the best here. It even seems to make some subtle references to Chicago, where the track was recorded. (“Here lies a city on fire /Singing along, the arsonist choir/Now here I go”). It’s a small nod, but one savvy fans will appreciate.

The Feast and the Famine” is another kick ass song inspired by the Washington hardcore punk scene, something Dave Grohl knows a lot about. Everything about this track is classic Foos: the opening hypnotic, hyper riff, the rapid pace, and Grohl’s growling vocals. It’s super energetic and driven by distorted guitars and lots of crashing music that puts you in the head banging mood. These two songs get you excited for the rest of the album. Unfortunately, it doesn’t exactly deliver. “Congregation” sounds like a standard Foo Fighters song that could easily appear on their other albums. Though it’s a decent track with its Nashville influence, but it doesn’t grab you by the throat like the previous ones. What it does show is Grohl’s power as a vocalist since he unleashes some hellish howls here.

The Southern and country influence on “What Did I Do/God as My Witness” rings loud and clear. You can hear it in the guitars and overall vibe of the track. This one constantly shifts tones between sort of upbeat to down right somber, but it never finds its footing. When the tonal shift first happens it’s jarring, especially since it sounds like a different song is playing. Again, it’s not a bad track, but it’s not as powerful as you would expect. “Outside” is a promising song that easily gets stuck in your head while “In the Clear” shows off the band’s melodic side. It’s no surprise to learn about Ben Gibbard’s contribution to “Subterranean” since it sounds similar to what his former band, Death Cab for Cutie, would do and the closing track “I Am a River” starts out strong but grows repetitive and overblown at the end, especially with the orchestra providing the outro. None of these songs are bad; they’re just not as interesting or strong as you would expect them to be.

Overall, the album gets 7.5/10. It seems like the band was more focused on the concept of the record rather than the music itself. This feels like a record you’ll appreciate if you watch the show, which I haven’t yet. But on it’s own it’s decent. There are some great tracks here, but mostly it ends up sounding like something they’ve done before. I think all the attention the band and show were getting made it overhyped. The album didn’t live up to those overblown expectations, but if it was released without any fuss it might’ve been better received. I may be alone in this, but I expected something bigger and better and this didn’t deliver. Maybe the album will age better with time.

ForTheMassesRelease Year: 1998

Rating: 6/10

Most tribute albums are pretty shoddy and aren’t worth your time, but since this one boasted some big acts, like The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, and Deftones I decided to check it out. While the covers from the aforementioned artists are pretty good, the rest of the renditions either play it safe and change nothing about the song or change everything about it making it sound bad. By the sixth track, you’ll be ready to turn off the album and listen to some real Depeche Mode.

Let’s start with the good. Smashing Pumpkins’ version of “Never Let Me Down Again” is really soft and mellow. It’s actually a decent cover, but since it is so mellow and light it may take some getting used to. You would expect something more vibrant and energetic from the band, but they did the complete opposite. They at least provide a different take on the song while making sure fans knew which Mode single it was. It’s not the best cover on the album, but it’s one you should check out. The best track here is The Cure’s version of “World in My Eyes.” With the upbeat electronic inspired music on the track, it manages to sound like a Cure song from the mid-90s, but you can still hear elements of the original. This one actually adds a fresh element to the song without taking anything away from it. I just think it’s awesome how The Cure covered one of their songs, considering Depeche Mode looked up to the band when they first started.

Another decent cover is “To Have and to Hold” by Deftones. This is another version that stays true to the original, but the music is really fuzzy and heavy, which helps to keep the dark tone of the track. Other than that, there really isn’t much else to say about the song. When researching the album, I found out Nine Inch Nails, Foo Fighters, and Marilyn Manson were supposed to add contributions, but didn’t have the time. With the way it turned out, they should’ve waited for these artists to finish because the rest of the covers are pretty awful. God Lives Underwater turns “Fly on the Windscreen” into some weird hip-hop, R&B song where you can’t even hear the singing (not that you would want to), while Failure (appropriately named) took away all the despair from “Enjoy the Silence” and turned it into a weird lounge rock infused version.

Some of the covers have really weak vocals. The singer of Hooverphonic tries way too hard to be sensual on “Shake the Disease” while the guy from Monster Magnet sounds like a poor man’s Chris Cornell when singing “Black Celebration.” Apollo Four Forty tries way too hard to make their version of “I Feel You” sound like the original. They even have their singer trying to pull the same vocal effects as Gahan on the track. Locust tries to turn “Master and Servant” into a smooth jazz duet and Rabbit in the Moon drag out “Waiting for Tonight” to the point where it bores you to tears. Even when the artists don’t suck at singing or music in general they play it safe by not changing a thing, which is the case with Veruca Salt’s “Somebody.” It doesn’t sound terrible, but with the exception of a different singer, it’s a copy of the original.

Overall, the album gets 6/10. What seemed to be a promising tribute album is mediocre at best. There are some notable covers by the likes of The Cure and Smashing Pumpkins, but the rest try too hard to replicate the original making them dull. When a cover does manage to shake things up it does it in the worst way possible. If anything this album makes you want to listen to some classic Depeche Mode and forget the time you wasted on this garbage.

Cage-The-Elephant-Deep-hands-cover

Release Year: 2014

Rating: 7/10

Early in October, Cage the Elephant released a brief live EP featuring songs from their third album, such as “It’s Just Forever,” “Spiderhead,” and “Cigarette Daydreams.” While the songs choices are good and the band sounds great like the always do, their previous live LP is better in comparison. The biggest issue with this release is the songs were recorded for Guitar Center Sessions, which gives us a more mellow version of the band. Since this isn’t taken from one of their tour shows, it doesn’t capture the charm, craziness, and energy they usually have on stage. They don’t come off as fun and spontaneous like they do normally. It does a good job at wetting fans’ appetite for new CTE material, but their previous live release is far better. Let’s just hope they’ll put out another live LP very soon.

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Release Year: 2007

Rating: 9/10

While this LP did pretty well in sales, it still gets overshadowed by some of Nine Inch Nail’s essential records. This time around, Reznor made a concept album rather than turning inward for song ideas. Though it may take a while for fans to get into, it’s impressive with songs ranging from catchy and aggressive to down right bleak. Conscious lyrics, strong themes, and intricate instrumentation make for Nine Inch Nail’s most complex album to date. It takes more than one listen to fully understand it.

Things kick off with the heavy and bombastic instrumental “Hyperpower!”Setting up the tone of the album, intense percussion introduces the track while the other instruments come in one at a time. There’s this pounding rhythm that sounds like an army marching. This feeling is amped up when random shouting starts up. Things get more distorted and chaotic as the song reaches its end and gives way to the next track. “The Beginning of the End” sets up the Big Brother, dystopian theme that runs through the album. Paranoia runs rampant as Reznor talks about others watching you and listening to what you say. It’s definitely not the strongest song here, but it manages to have that distinguishable NIN sound.

Reznor pulls out the funk for “The Good Soldier.” The music is on the groovy side of things and makes you shimmy when it comes on. The throbbing bass is awesome, especially since it comes in when Reznor sings “When the bass goes ‘bomb’.” Midway through light xylophone music infiltrates like a glimmer of hope that’s buried underneath the distortion. Like most of the songs here, this one is pretty bleak. The lyrics describe a soldier who clearly doesn’t believe in what he or she is fighting for, but keeps “trying to believe.” It’s a provocative song that could be applied to thoughts on war. This track leads right to the torn and tattered “Vessel.” The music here is amazing. It’s rough, harsh, scratching, and full of noise. All throughout the music gets more violent and turns into something robotic and fuzzy at the end.

If there’s one really catchy, radio friendly track on the album it’s “Capital G.” The music is really upbeat and isn’t as hard as it is on the other songs. Considering when the song came out, many thought it was about the Bush administration; that’s what I even thought. But Reznor has actually stated the G stands for Greed, which makes a lot of sense when you consider lyrics like “Ain’t gonna worry about no future generations and a/And I’m sure somebody’s gonna figure it out.” The lyrics are so poignant and critical that it could just as easily be applied to Bush as well. Things get disturbing on “Meet Your Master,” which talks about someone who has decided to oppose society and is being punished with death. What I really like here are Reznor’s vocals, which are so full of anger and passion to really get the message across. Both are stellar tracks that show why this record is so poignant.

The most unsettling and impressive song is “The Greater Good.” The opening music has more of a hip-hop flavor before light music comes in and twists around as if it’s trying to put the listener in a trance. What makes it really creepy is the way Reznor whispers lines like “Breathe.. us in. Slowly.” With the haunting vocals and the looping music makes it sound like a subliminal message is being broadcast. Reznor pulls off this effect so flawlessly it feels like he’s getting in your head. It’s definitely one of the best tracks on the album. A somewhat peaceful moment comes in the form of “In this Twilight.” The music is very pretty and calming creating this relaxing mood. The content sort of keeps up this tone: it seems to be about people watching the skies as the world comes to an end. They know they will die, but think they’ll be better off in the end. Guess it’s not that mellow in the end.

What’s interesting about the record is a lot of music goes back to the early days of NIN. Really harsh, aggressive synth beats take over “The Warning,” while “Me, I’m Not” features a lot of beeps and boops in the music layered over a looping drumbeat. These tracks along with others like “Survivalism” are electronic and synth based, much like Reznor’s earlier material. Sometimes the tracks make you think of albums like Pretty Hate Machine or The Downward Spiral. The difference is it never sounds like Reznor is repeating himself. Rather, he’s uses noise filled music to match the chaotic and violent theme of the songs. He does branch out on tracks like “God Given,” which employs a rap style to his vocals and “My Violent Heart,” which uses hip-hip influences like record scratching to get it’s gritty tone, but even fans of his earliest work will find something to latch onto.

Overall, the album gets 9/10. Many say that NIN’s third release is their most underrated, but for me this one takes that title. Not only is it filled with catchy, synth based song reminiscent of Reznor earlier material, there’s also music that goes beyond his comfort zone. And with a theme about a dystopian Big Brother-esque society, it’s a complex album. It takes several listens before you grasp everything that’s being said. Still, since the record is so great you won’t mind experiencing the music again.