If you’re unfamiliar with Cibo Matto, I don’t blame you.
They’re a band formed in the early ’90s by two Japanese-born girls named Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori that made music that can be characterized as trip-hop, art pop, alternative pop, or Shibuya-kei. After relocating to New York in 1994, the two women formed their band Cibo Matto and began to experiment with different music styles. One thing you notice about the early music of the group is that the central themes are focused on food, and sure enough, their band name translates to “food madness” in Italian. The idea came from their routine indulgence in the diverse selection of foods they found in the Lower East Side of New York after every practice and performance. They referenced foods in their songs due to the difficulty they faced at first in learning English.
Although they referenced food a lot in their lyrics, they rarely actually meant them in the literal sense. Their songs typically use food as references or metaphors for the true subjects of the songs. After their first album Viva! La Woman Cibo Matto returned for their second album, but released before in 1997 self-titled EP called Super Relax, in 1999 with the addition of new members including Sean Lennon, whom Miho Hatori was dating at the time. Their second album, Stereo Type A would mark a change in the sound and lyrics of Cibo Matto, but their music remained fun, funky, weird, upbeat, and creative.
The band has since disbanded, but in remembrance of this amazing and different band, here are nine of our favorite lyrics by them.
Song: Birthday Cake
“Extra sugar, extra salt, extra oil, and extra MSG!….’It’s moldy, mom,’ I don’t give a flying fuck, though!”
Song: Beef Jerky
“My mom says, ‘You are kinky!’ Who cares? I don’t care! A horse’s ass is better than yours.”
Song: White Pepper Ice Cream
“White pepper ice cream. Sweet or spicy?… I was shot with bullets of pepper on my lips; I feel a nip.”
Song: Sugar Water
“I’m riding on a camel that has big eyes. The buildings are changing into coconut trees. Little by little, when a black cat crosses my path, a woman in the moon is singing to the earth.”
“Can you peel my petals one by one? What am I gonna be on the pan? Will I be burnt black? Can you squeeze a lemon on me?”
Song: Know Your Chicken
“I know my chicken, you got to know your chicken. Spare the rod and spoil the chick, before you go and shit a brick.”
“Baby bake it, make it funky, let’s get greasy, let’s get chunky! Taste it, feel it, check this shit out!”
Song: Sci-Fi Wasabi
“What’s up be? Wa-sa-bi; I’m searchin’ the city for sci-fi wasabi. The start button has been pushed already, Obi-Wan Kenobi is waiting for me in Union Square…Feeling stromboli, not ravioli.”
Song: Le Pain Perdu
“Can you take my silver wheat? Mix it up with butter and treat, I feel a chill go down my feet. Your maple is so sweet.”