Staff Top 10
Top Ten Music & Food/Drink Combo Meals

one is meant to be consumed by mouths, torn apart by canines and incisors, and ushered down the esophagus. The other is meant to be consumed by a cartilage-based doorway to a canal that vibrates hammers, anvils, and stirrups on its crooked way towards the brain. Music and food. Both provide us with stimulation to our nervous system, but they utilize different methods of sensory identification to match with our perception of them. Rarely does sound affect food or taste affect music. That also reads as “Don’t lick your iPod, and if your spaghetti sounds squishy, pass on it.”

Paired together properly, however, they can act as powerful reinforcements and co-dependents. Food can taste better, music can be improved, moods can be set, characteristics can be heightened, and moments can become indelible.

10) Scissor Sisters’s Scissor Sisters & Gourmet finger food
This is the combo for inviting your modest but slightly upper-crust friends over to play humorous board games (Balderdash, Guesstures, Pictionary, et al) while drinking nice wine. I’m not talking nachos and dip either, more like platters of pate and brie with Melba toast. Lets peoples’ inhibitions drop, and usually leads to drunken ramblings of embarrassing sexual situations. And keeps a smile on everyone’s face until they leave.

09) Man Man’s Six Demon Bag & Salted Peanuts and Buttered Popcorn
So it’s a little pre-emptive because the album comes out next week, but Six Demon Bag is worthy of comparisons to the greatest of vaudeville shows. It’s the closest that Barnum & Bailey have ever come to making an album, and what better to underscore that sideshow atmosphere than bags of overpriced legumes and exploded starch with synthetic chemical flavoring.

08) Primal Scream’s XTRMNTR & A few Red Bulls
The first can hits at “Kill All Hippies” and explodes with “Accelerator.” The second can keeps things flowing past “Exterminator” and builds to frightening intensity at the end of “Swastika Eyes.” We feel so good that after another can, we don’t even notice that “Pills,” “Blood Money,” and “Keep Your Dreams” flash by. “Incest Royalty” offers a last choice, but we get tempted by one more can. “MBV Arkestra” shoots our bodily functions off into space—this album and four cans of Red Bull both take you to the point of exploding your own heart.

07) My Morning Jacket’s It Still Moves & Jambalaya and cornbread
Sure, maybe Lynyrd Skynyrd and others did a better job soundtracking “the South,” but more than any, this album feels like a backyard cookout in the bayou with a family that you actually like. The whole scene reeks of redneck, but the company is more than happy to embrace the moniker.

06) The La’s The La’s & Fish and chips
Here I’m picturing the meal coming from a sidewalk vendor, served to you in yesterday’s Times, as a gloomy, misty drizzle gradually soaks you while walking across the Thames. It’s an experience that is distinctly British, that you really couldn’t get in any other country or city in the world. And sure, it’s great, but (with no disrespect meant) in the back of your head you wonder if it was worth going outside and getting drenched for.

05) Broken Social Scene (any album) & A Chinese smorg
This is where the characteristics of the music and food itself play off each other. In both, you are given a massive amount of great things. But you don’t go to a Chinese smorg to only eat the Ginger Pork, you go to fill your plate of with as much different stuff as you can and stuff it all in at once. Just like BSS’s music, it would be a complete overload, if it all wasn’t so damn tasty going down.

04) Paavoharju’s Yha Hamaraa & Communion/Holy Meal
We’ve been drooling over this album a lot, I understand, but it fits so well with religious activity that it must be mentioned. This isn’t the type of communion you find in your local house of prayer, however. It conjures up an image of a robed ceremony for an important rite of passage in a grand Gothic European cathedral. I’m not a very religious person (though I have been baptized), but this is the soundtrack of dining over divinity.

03) The Beach Boys (pretty much anything) & Burger and fries, Cherry Coke, malts, and banana splits
I can hear you screaming “OBVIOUS” at your screen right now. And I don’t care. It’s almost as perfect a match as it gets, and the range of The Boys’ catalogue can pretty much score any teenage emotion from the American Graffiti era.

02) The Go! Team’s Thunder, Lightning, Strike & Lucky Charms
You could actually substitute any sugar-laden breakfast cereal in for this, but this album invokes the unabashed elation I remember from getting up at the stroke of 7 on a Saturday morning so I could eat candy in my cereal and watch cartoons for hours. Bonus points go to any cereal which would turn your milk some wacky color (brown, pink, yellowish) by the time you were finished, and extra kudos if you still slurped down the stuff no matter what shade of neon it was.

01) Feist’s Let It Die & Home-cooked pasta with olive oil-and-herb based sauce
This entire album is actually the soundtrack of a candlelit stay-in date at a studio apartment. White wine, some kind of steamed greens, and a rich whipped-chocolate dessert are also essential ingredients. The opening trio of songs sets the perfect dining atmosphere, and the rest of the album guides the night: the first passionate, doubt-filled kiss with “One Evening,” hot and heavy petting with “Leisure Suite,” delicate spooning conversation with “Lonely Lonely,” a second passionate (and more primal) moment later that night with “When I Was A Young Girl,” and the ending trio of songs (“Secret Heart,” “Inside & Out,” and “Now At Last”) soaked in deep-seated bliss. It’s an album that envisions the perfect home-cooked meal date.

(Maybe now guys will stop buying Norah Jones to impress their dates and get Feist instead. One can only hope.)

By: Matt Sheardown
Published on: 2006-02-17
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