Cibo Matto - Viva! La Woman


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Cibo Matto - Viva! La Woman

Nippon-esque Urban Trip-Hop

The band Cibo Matto was formed by Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda following their move from Japan to New York City. Their wholly unique and hypnotic trip-hop music is immediately addictive. Sophisticated beat and arrangements are intertwined with quirky yet eerily profound food-themed lyrics sung by Miho in her cutesy Japan-English girl's voice.

I'll admit, I'm not much of a music critic, but I do enjoy music and find Cibo Matto to be quite remarkable. Though formally disbanded in 2001, the group and their unique funk continue to live on through the Gorillaz to which Cibo Matto has contributed. If you are prone to watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns, you might just catch the band's cameo performance during one of the shows of the 1999 season.

Cibo Matto released two albums, of which Viva! La Woman is the first (1996). I'll post something about their second album, Stereotype A at a later date.

The sound emanating from this album is simultaneously fun, profound and mesmerizing, and can easily compete with any other collection in the urban trip-hop genre. Think of a high-school girl version of the Beastie-Boys but replacing the latter's boastful yelling with intellectually humorous snapshots of mundane moments which open up to reveal the depth of the human condition.

Each song on Viva! La Woman revolves in some way around food. This sounds deceptively simplistic and naive, but after hearing only one song you'll realize there's a rather remarkable and existential "zen" layer to the entire album, wherein, as they say, a pebble contains the whole of the universe.

And so here, for example, simple lyrics regarding the impression of the flavor of "white pepper ice cream" lead to the precipice of contemplative erotica, or a vocally dominant mother's "loving" recipe for her married son's "birthday cake" uncovers more than a closet full of dysfunction, or a young woman's identification with an "artichoke" turns out to be as haunting as any contemporary horror.

One's musical taste is precisely that; a personal taste, and so I realize that this may not be for everybody. But for those interested in a good beat, some thought-candy and a collection which you will not soon become tired of, you just may enjoy this. I certainly do.

The following are the album lyrics taken primarily from the CD's sleeve, but modified slightly to reflect Miho's actual choice of words. I follow the CD sleeve in not listing repeated lines. And BTW: there are two stanza's in the song "Theme" which are in Japanese and French respectively (both of which fail to appear in the "sleeve lyrics".) I've romanized the Japanese portion for you (without translation), but leave the French (audio) portions entirely up to you to decipher.


Apple

When apple leaves fall
You may feel something in your mind's eye
When the earth drinks in squall
You may plan to escape on the sly

I heard her sobbing
Her tears tasted so sweet
I heard her singing
Her voice was gray beat

When apple leaves fall
We will have to say good bye
When the earth drinks in squall
Your mind will be dry

Beef Jerky

My weight is 300 pounds
My favorite is beef jerky
I'm a vagabond, I'm a vagabond
My mom says, "You are kinky!"

Who cares? I don't care!
A horse's ass is better than yours

Lie down here, baby
Just relax...honey

My baby horse is Jennifer
What a beefy hip!
She has a fine coat of fur
What shiny hair!

Who cares? I don't care!
A horse's ass is better than yours

Let's eat carrots together until...
Let's eat carrots together until... 

Sugar Water

The velocity of time turns her voice into sugar water

I'm on a concrete way
The wind is blowing to the north-northwest
It smells like sands of the southern island
When a black cat crosses my path

A woman in the moon is singing to the earth
A woman in the moon is singing to the earth
La la la...

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
A woman in the moon is singing to the earth
La la la...

We are taking sugar water shower

White Pepper Ice Cream

White pepper ice cream
It's like a line drawing
It snipped my heart
White pepper ice cream

In my mouth
It sting my lips
It's like eclipse
As I'm in the crossword puzzle
But I can't fill in the blank

White pepper ice cream
Sweet or spicy?
White pepper ice cream
Ca m'est egal
Ca m'est egal

Which is the first word?
Sweet or spicy?
Ca m'est egal
Ca m'est egal

It's all the same to me

I was shot with bullets of pepper
On my lips
I feel a nip

Black and white
Bonnie and Clyde
Black and white
Bonnie and Clyde
It steals my sight
Under cover of night

We run away from...
It's all the same to me
We run away from...
It's all the same to me
In the puzzle

Birthday Cake

SHUT UP AND EAT!
TOO BAD NO BON APPETIT!
SHUT UP AND EAT!
YOU KNOW MY LOVE IS SWEET!

Yes, I'm cooking for my son and his wife
It's his 30th birthday
Pour berries into A bowl
Add milk of two months ago
"It's moldy mom, isn't it?"
I don't give a flying fuck though

SHUT UP AND EAT!
TOO BAD NO BON APPETIT!
SHUT UP AND EAT!
YOU KNOW MY LOVE IS SWEET!

It's food nouveau
It's food nouveau
It's the shape of love

Beat it! Beat it up!
Beat it! Beat it up!

Extra sugar, extra salt
Extra oil and MSG
Extra sugar, extra salt
Extra oil and MSG

SHUT UP AND EAT!
TOO BAD NO BON APPETIT!
SHUT UP AND EAT!
YOU KNOW MY LOVE IS SWEET!

You were born in the 60's
We made a war with the Vietnamese
We loved LSD, we died easily
Can we just say c'est la vie?

So what! Say what! For your own sake
Do you have a headache or heartbreak?
Are you made or broken by the birthday cake?
You may be slow on the uptake

I pour pot in the birthday cake
So what! Say what! For my own sake
Watch out yo! Here I come yo!
I'm gonna change to a rattlesnake

Turn up the TV! Do you agree?
Yeah, I'm talking turkey Take it from me
I'm gonna show my love for my dove
"But it's moldy, mom, isn't it?"

Extra sugar, extra salt
Extra oil and MSG
Extra sugar, extra salt
Extra oil and MSG

SHUT UP AND EAT!
TOO BAD NO BON APPETIT!
SHUT UP AND EAT!
YOU KNOW MY LOVE IS VERY SWEET!

Know Your Chicken

16 years ago, one day,
I was walking down the street
I was cruising in Brooklyn
You know what I mean?
Something was cooking,
but wasn't yet a chicken.

There was a man,
Selling chicks in a box.
He said, "2 for 1, but 3 for 2."
I said, "That's not bad,
Here's money for you."
One was magenta,
And the other was blue.

I KNOW MY CHICKEN
YOU GOT TO KNOW YOUR CHICKEN

One day, the blue one went away.
The other grew up fuckin' well.
She was noisy every night.
I had always chicken-bite.

Then I met a lover
One night, she made me dinner.
Licking finger, I wondered
Where she got the chicken.

Then I met a lover.
One night, she made me dinner.
Licking finger, I wondered
where she got the 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.

I KNOW MY CHICKEN
YOU GOT TO KNOW YOUR CHICKEN

She went to college to study anatomy
I followed her father's butchery
We got 2 babies. Is it cool?
One was magenta, the other was blue.

I KNOW MY CHICKEN
YOU GOT TO KNOW YOUR CHICKEN

Theme

It was such lovely weather
The third day in Milano
I was sitting in a chair
The point of my high heel was stepping on a man's shadow

The scent of his cappuccino was carried on the wind of Milano

He stared me up and down
As if I was a restaurant menu
The accidental meeting
Made my blood red like Chianti

Mio, ah mio, ah mio, Mio! Bambino!

Blindfold me...only feeling

When you touch me on the knee
I can feel your vibration
When you capture my secret key
I can hear your pulsation

HIT ME!

Nemurenai yoru, asa made okite, tsuyoi koohii ippai choudai na!
Furaipan no ue ni notteru mitai na kibun ni naru.
Abura o fuiite, abura o fuiite.
Abura o fuiite, watashi no karada wo kogashite yo!
Make my body burn

[French lyrics here: Your'e on your own.]

The Candy Man

Who can take the sunlight, sprinkle it with dew
Cover it with chocolate and a miracle or two
The Candy Man, the Candy Man can
The Candy Man, the Candy Man can
He mixes it with love, makes the world taste good

Who can take the rainbow, wrap it in a sigh
Soak it in the sun and make a groovy lemon pie
The Candy Man, the Candy Man can
The Candy Man, the Candy Man can
He mixes it with love, makes the world taste good

The Candy Man makes everything he makes
Satisfying and delicious
Talking about your childhood for the wishes
You can even eat the dishes
But delicious.

Who can take tomorrow, dip it in a dream
Separate the sorrow and collect up all the cream
The Candy Man, the Candy Man can
The Candy Man, the Candy Man can
He mixes it with love, makes the world taste good

Le Pain Perdu

The sunshine, too light
The ocean, too wide
I'm sick of your cliche
The sky is kind
Love is blind
You can't let go of the lost pain

You're in the maze
Spending every day
I'm in the haze
I want the getaway

You're in the maze
Spending every day
I'm in the haze
I want the getaway

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

So sweet

We've got to get out
To get out the hell out
We've got to get out
To get out the hell out

Got to get me out of here
Before it goes stale

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
So sweet

But it's too mushy
Too mushy
I can't take it, baby!

We've got to get out
To get out the hell out
We've got to get out
To get out the hell out

Got to get me out of here
Before it goes stale

Artichoke

My heart is like an artichoke
I eat petals myself one by one
Until I feel enough
Until I lose to laugh

When I end to eat the last one
I will tear my drops
I will lose my lips

Though I can't stop plucking off
I can't see my core
I keep asking for you more and more

Can you peel my petals one by one?
Your hands are like a rusty knife
Are you gonna keep on peeling me?
Are you gonna keep on peeling me?
Are you gonna keep on peeling me?

What am I gonna be on the pan?
Will I be burnt black?
Can you squeeze a lemon on me?

Baby, baby, everything you wanna feel
Baby, baby, everything you wanna taste
Baby, baby, everything you wanna feel
Baby, baby, everything you wanna taste.

Here's a sample. Enjoy.

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