WMSC Music Picks: FOCUS Food 2023

Written by on November 20, 2023

Welcome to WMSC Music Picks, a collaborative collection of WMSC’s music recommendations and reviews. In this installment, our music team contributes to Montclair State University’s Fall 2023 FOCUS project of FOCUS: Food. Read below to see what foodie favorites our members have to recommend!


“Black Licorice” — Peach Pit*

Review by Daniel Ortiz a.k.a. Danny Cammy

If you’re looking for something easy and laid back to bite into with a nice kick of melancholy lyricism, look no further. “Black Licorice” was the third promotional single for Peach Pits’ album You and Your Friends. The guitar strings in this track wash over you with a calming melody, making you feel like you’re riding down a street back home with the windows down. Don’t let the sweet rhythm fool you, once you bite down on this song you feel the acidic tart from the lyrics come in. Referencing how black licorice tends to be undesired of all the candies, the singer places themselves in that juxtaposition with their friends. They feel like they are unwanted around their peers, which maybe some people can relate to (don’t look at me like that!).


“Pomegranate Seeds” — Julian Moon

Review by Daniel Ortiz a.k.a. Danny Cammy

If you’re not a fan of the Greek Mythos, Julian Moon will definitely make you one in “Pomegranate Seeds.” This song pays homage to the mythical story of how Hades kidnapped Persephone through pomegranate seeds (Yikes Hades, tough look). The tale of Persephone is one of rebellion and grief – Julian embodies this energy through the electric guitar riffs and the teasing tone during the bridge. The song can be understood through two parts (or two seasons), the first being before the bridge (Autumn), and the second after the bridge (Spring). In the first part, Julian entices you into the song with high beats and high tempos to get your adrenaline pumping. In the second part, she introduces piano keys to give a slower, more somber melody to represent the coming of spring. Which do you like more, Autumn or Spring?


“Strawberry Swing” — Coldplay

Review by Kimberly Martinez

This song was released as a part of Coldplay’s 2008 album Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends. This song is chilled back, with the repeating lyrics being “it’s such a perfect day,” this song does seem great for a perfect day. “Strawberry Swing” gives off the vibes of running through a field of flowers, with clear blue skies and the sun beaming down on you. The more you listen to the song the more you can somewhat interpret the meaning. The backstory I interpreted was how Chris Martin (the lead singer) symbolizes going back to the sweetness of one’s childhood, relaxing on a swing on a beautiful day. This is followed by switching back to a current perspective as an adult, and experiencing nostalgia over that sweetness of a moment. The visuals for this music video are creative and complex. Though most of it is drawings unlike live video, Coldplay still did an amazing job at drawing and showcasing the story that they wanted to portray through artwork.


“Pork and Beans” — Weezer

Review by Kimberly Martinez

Released as a part of Weezer’s 2008 self-titled album Weezer, this song has more of a rebellious feel to it when you look at the lyrics. Apparently, Rivers Cuomo (the lead singer) was told by Geffern executives that the band needed to record more commercial material and as a result Cuomo came out angry from that meeting, thus this song was created. This song was to go against those executives and that’s what he did, hence the title “Pork and Beans.” “Pork and Beans” in this aspect is a metaphor for doing things your own way and not at all caring about what others think and doing things your own way. The message is to be yourself and don’t let anyone and any societal norms hold you down. As for the music video, it is very interesting. There is a lot to it and many might find it “weird,” but knowing just how many different people and memes and prompts are included, I find it very creative and intriguing. Although having a bit of a “weird” music video and incorporating a lot of different things, “Pork and Beans” ended up winning a Grammy Award for Best Music Video at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, helping Weezer shove this in the executives’ faces that they could do whatever they want, without anyone telling them what to do, and it would still be a hit.


“Hot Dog” — Led Zeppelin

Review by Kimberly Martinez

This song was released as a part of Led Zeppelin’s 1979 album In Through the Out Door. Many know the band for their big rock hits, and they are considered rock legends, but when you listen to this song that is not the case: This song is under the rock category but it’s all country. It starts off with an interesting rock guitar solo, which does sound like it could be a part of a rock song, but then it goes straight to country – The type of country you would hear back in the 60s at a bar somewhere in the Midwest, especially the South type of country. But you still very much hear the electric guitar in the background. Some may interpret this song as one about a girl from Texas, while others may see it as a tribute to the state itself. I see this song leaning more towards the ladder, as this song very much embodies the vibes of Texas.


“(Coffee’s For Closers)” — Fall Out Boy

Review by Amber Bintliff

Coffee lovers, rejoice! Fall Out Boy brewed just the song for you back in 2009. This track has always been one of my favorites from this record since my very first listen in my baby emo phase days. Now, you may be sitting here wondering what any of the contents of “(Coffee’s For Closers)” has to do with the beloved caffeinated beverage. Well, dear reader, you’re in luck! Fun fact, the title of the song comes from a monologue in the 1992 Glengarry Glen Ross movie in which Alec Baldwin’s character states that “coffee’s for closers only.” The inspiration behind the song and the use of this quote as the title is the concept that only successful people get what they want in life. This theme can be understood all throughout the song, but particularly for me in the lyrics “only get lonely when you read the charts,” and “I will never believe in anything again.”


“Candy Coated Lie$” — Hot Milk

Review by Amber Bintliff

This song serves as a two-for-one special, since not only does the song title include food, but the band name includes a beverage! This was the first ever Hot Milk song I heard in 2020 and there’s a reason why it’s their most popular song. With almost 20 million Spotify streams, “Candy Coated Lie$” is an infectiously catchy tune that could make anyone fall in love with this band. With lyrics such as “I can’t stand the taste of candy coated lies,” and “vultures up high started preying on me,” it’s clear that Hot Milk believes lies aren’t that sweet to hear, even when they’re coated in a ton of sugar. I’m not sure how well actual milk (cold or hot) and candy would mix together, but I can confirm that it works very well in the context of this song.


“Fruit Roll Ups” — Waterparks*

Review by Amber Bintliff

This song named after the beloved fruit flavored childhood snack is by far the dreamiest song in Waterparks’ discography. When listening to “Fruit Roll Ups,” the soft sounding guitars and fluttering synths replicate the same kind of butterflies you would get when falling head over heels for someone. The simplicity found in the lyrics through Awsten asking this special someone to come over to see his new LED lights, or saying he’d leave the safety of his apartment if they asked, showcases that love doesn’t have to be as complex as most make it out to be. This track is such a sweet little love song that perfectly encapsulates the feelings of being in love and wanting to do absolutely anything you can to spend time with your partner.


“500 Years of Winter – Pizza Song” — 5 Seconds of Summer

Review by Amber Bintliff

This 40 second song that entails drummer Ashton Irwin repeatedly demanding that bandmate Michael Clifford be given another slice of pizza is one of the most prominent memories of my childhood fangirl days. This song evolved from two jokes amongst fans and the band themselves about the fact that Michael really likes pizza and variations of their band’s name with different time frames and seasons. Even now, despite saying multiple times how annoying the song actually is, fans often chant during the concerts in hopes for 5SOS to deliver their request (haha, get it!).


“Ham” — Mr. Oizo

Review by GS Alvarez

Signed to the Ed Banger label in 2006, Quentin Dupieux—known as Mr. Oizo while DJing—is most widely known for his house hits “Positif” and “Flat Beat.” His fifth studio album The Church features numerous great food-titled tracks, “Ham” being one of them. Disregarding its slightly unsettling but hypnotizing music video featuring John C. Reilly, “Ham” blends the classic electronic taps of earlier French house with a more flowy, resonating synth. Its most obvious sample is that of the classic ORCH5 from the Fairlight CMI, which brings it back around to the traditional French touch sound that Ed Banger artists are known for. While there are no lyrics to this track, it’s still a great bouncy tune to play while you’re cooking up a storm.

“Grand Theft Ice Cream Truck” — Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross 

Review by GS Alvarez

The two official members of Nine Inch Nails and frequent film score collaborators Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross put out their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem album earlier this year, and it’s full of fun, high-energy, experimental tracks like this one. “Grand Theft Ice Cream Truck” plays under a scene where—you guessed it—characters conspire and steal an ice cream truck. It features the usual staples of a Reznor-Ross score, including a sharp droning bass and pokey synth lines. But the tight-but-messy drums that make their appearance halfway through push this track (along with many others on the score) into something much more energetic and lighter than usual. It might not be a song that you chill and eat ice cream to, but it’s sure to get you in the mood to run after some.

“Sour Grapes (Late for Dinner Mix)” — Puscifer

Review by GS Alvarez

The side project of Tool and A Perfect Circle front man Maynard James Keenan, Puscifer often releases experimental and off-beat rock tracks that allow him and co-collaborator Carina Round to spread their wings creatively. “Sour Grapes” featured on their debut album and was remixed by frequent Nine Inch Nails contributor (and remixer) Danny Lohner for Puscifer’s accompanying remix album, “V” is for Viagra – The Remixes. The original track features a sermon performed by MJK’s character Billy D, which the remix completely nixes (save for a few samples). The Late for Dinner version features a crunchier, “grind-ier” drumline, and MJK’s few sung lines are preempted with a “Closer”-esque piano riff. This is one of the best collaborations between Lohner and Keenan, possibly only overshadowed by their reimagining of David Bowie’s “Bring Me the Disco King.” 


“Savoy Truffle” — The Beatles

Review by Grace Velazquez

“Savoy Truffle” was released in 1968 in the album The Beatles, also known as The White Album. It’s a song inspired by a box of Mackintosh’s “Good News” chocolates – which were George Harrison’s friend Eric Clapton’s favorite. Yes, the inspiration for this song was a box of British chocolates. The song is a sweet treat with the mentioning of “A coffee dessert,” “Cool cherry cream,” and “Coconut fudge.” The Beatles were always an experimental group and songs mentioning food were no surprise for them. The groovy sound and a jazzy kick gives this song its personality. With a fantastic brass section and a smooth guitar solo, “Savoy Truffle” is one of those Beatles songs that will surprise you on how underrated it is. 


“Francés Limón” — Los Enanitos Verdes

Review by Grace Velazquez

Translated to “French Lemon,” Los Enanitos Verdes gives us a song that expresses the amorous and intense love one can have for someone who brings light and bliss. These feelings are defined as “Francés Limón.” Released in 2002 in their album Amores Lejanos, the catchy “Lalala” motif throughout the song brings that sense of color that a bright lemon has. Of course, it’s not a song about a lemon that comes from France. “Francés Limón” is the typical Enanitos sound with intriguing guitar riffs and the flavor of jazzy rock. With lyrics such as, “Te Besare, Me Besaras” and “En un barco de papel yo volveré, Por ti mi amor Francés limón,” this song emphasizes mutual affection allowing the listeners to be enchanted with Marciano Cantero’s voice, Felipie Staiti’s guitar riffs, and Daniel Piccolo on drums. 


“Rapp Snitch Knishes” — MF DOOM*

Review by J.F. Tannen

You all are about to read something that has never been done before: a music review overpraising MF DOOM written by an unqualified white guy. He’s got great beats and fantastic lyricism, all feeling perfectly conceptualized but flowing freely as a stream of consciousness. Food exemplifies this possibility the most of any album in his discography. You got some of his best food related tracks on the album: “One Beer,” “Kon Karne,” and of course, the very best, “Rapp Snitch Knishes.” This song has a funky guitar beat (which in and of itself is popular as an instrumental known as “Coffin Nails”) which oozes with coolness. This has lyrics that only DOOM himself could compose, somehow connecting the traditional Jewish delicacy with disloyal associates in the rap community. It’s silly. It’s fun. It’s smart. It’s MF DOOM. If even an idiot like me who doesn’t even listen to rap loves this song, I can assure you will love it too.


“Chicken Tenders” — Dominic Fike

Review by Jacob Caraballo

Dominic Fike is no stranger to unique and eccentric song titles with tracks such as “Double Negative (Skeleton Milkshake),” “Socks,” and “Acaí Bowl” just to name a few. “Chicken Tenders” is no exception. This is the first single off of Fike’s first studio album, What Could Possibly Go Wrong, released in 2020. This song combines R&B with an alternative pop sound followed by an infectious and catchy chorus. The track and its accompanying lyrics dive into themes of intimacy and desire with their partner while still keeping that lighthearted pop vibe that you cannot help but always come back to when listening to the album. 


“Pork and Beans” — Weezer

Review by Jacob Caraballo

Released by American alternative rock band Weezer, “Pork and Beans” is the third song off of their self-titled Weezer album, otherwise known as their Red Album. Being one of their biggest and most successful songs to date, this track is actually the first from the band to feature no guitar solo. Accompanied by underlying guitar tones very reminiscent of their Blue Album, this song also includes words sped up an octave in similar fashion to hit producer Timbaland. If you want a trip down memory lane and you’re feeling nostalgic, feel free to watch the music video which includes many memes and internet celebrities that you most likely pushed to the back of your brain! 


“Candy Necklace” — Lana Del Rey

Review by Jacob Caraballo

On a much more melancholic note, “Candy Necklace” by American singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey is the second song off her ninth studio album titled Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd that was released in 2023. I remember when she teased the snippet for this song on her Instagram, showing a bunch of people listening to the track in the studio. The only thing that could process into my head at the time was almost how angelic her voice sounded on the track and how it floated over the piano in the background of the song. Upon listening to the full release of the song, Lana Del Rey explores a troubled relationship and her obsession with the reckless acts of her partner in one of her more honest, darker tracks of her discography. “Candy Necklace” would go on to be nominated for the 2024 Grammy Awards with “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.” 


“Möbius Chicken Strip” — Origami Angel

Review By Jenna Marcy

Coming from the bands’ 2021 album GAMI GANG, this Origami Angel track offers a clucking good time, taking audiences on a musical journey that is part punk, part wholesome, and 100% good vibes. Just like the real life concept of the Möbius strip, this song is broken into two parts, while really only being one sided. Shifting between the chaotic pop punk rhythms that the band is known for and slower, more solemn guitar features, “Möbius Chicken Strip” is a proclamation of the singer’s care for an unnamed individual. Still upbeat and dance-worthy in sound, the lyrics of this track portray a much more wholesome vibe than the fast pace music would have one think. Just like how the real Möbius strip goes around and around, never breaking, the lyrics of this song tell the story of a person unequivocally grateful for another person in their life. Repetitive lyrics hone this in, leaving the listener with no question on how the singer feels about this other person, their own other side. The final lines of the song sample a man talking about doing what he can in life and enjoying every second of it. This emphasis on the little pleasures in life, coupled with the singer’s blatant love of the subject of the song, whether platonic or romantic, portrays a powerful message of embracing the little things in life. 

Though unfortunately not about chicken strips (though a song about chicken strips would be really cool), this track has a much deeper meaning than the goofy title lets on. It is a song about embracing life and those around you in all forms. 


“Cornflake Girl” — Tori Amos

Review by Jaka Doherty

“Cornflake Girl” is a single off of Tori Amos’ second album Under the Pink. Perhaps Amos’ most popular song, it discusses the phenomenon of internalized misogyny that women carry out against other women. “Cornflake girls” to Amos represent a prejudiced close-minded person, and the “raisin girls” she also mentions represent not conforming to society and being open-minded. Amos herself admits this is a generalization. I love this song though – it features Tori Amos’ stellar storytelling skills and strong, skillful piano playing (Amos is classically trained as a pianist). I grew up listening to Tori Amos as my mom and my best friend’s mom are big fans of her music, and “Cornflake Girl” is such a fun song to sing along to!


“Flaming Hot Cheetos” — Clairo 

Review by Jaka Doherty

“Flaming Hot Cheetos” is a single off of Clairo’s debut EP titled Diary 001. Whenever I hear this song I’m hit with the nostalgia of freshman year of high school when I first heard this song and discovered Clairo’s music. The title comes from the fact that Clairo was eating flaming hot Cheetos while recording the demo, which I find pretty funny. I kind of like when artists give songs titles that are seemingly random. “Flaming Hot Cheetos” is a key example of Clairo’s earlier sound, it’s soft and dreamy, and part of what became a popular genre of music at the time around 2017/2018 called “Bedroom Pop.” The production is simple, Bedroom Pop is, as the name suggests, typically an at-home production that the artist can make in their bedroom, but that doesn’t make it any less amazing. If anything, it’s super impressive that Clairo was writing and producing her own music at the age of 20.


“Clementine” — Elliott Smith 

Review by Jaka Doherty

“Clementine” is a song off of Elliott Smith’s self-titled album, and his second solo album release. This is one of my favorite Elliott Smith songs, it features his classic, acoustic sound. Smith’s guitar playing is unique, with non-traditional tuning. A quintessential song to listen to if you’re interested in getting into Elliott Smith’s music!


“Cereal” — Steven Malcolm

Review by Jared Tauber 

In 2017, Steven Malcolm released a song that addressed a very important topic that up until that point had gone completely untouched in hip-hop and rap: Cereal. “I’m talkin’ about 2% milk to go with them Trix I’m ‘bout to kill.” Steven Malcolm’s “Cereal,” coming off his debut album Steven Malcolm, references every cereal known to man. Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, you name it. You’d think that on a debut release Malcolm would play it safe so as to not risk staining his career, but he stands firm in his conviction that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, no matter how controversial that may be. Even today, not enough rappers talk about a well-balanced breakfast, so it’s important that we all remember this song because like Malcolm says, “When it comes to the size of the bowl, the bigger the better.”


“CHICKEN TENDIES” — Clinton Kane

Review by Rena Hailey

In a twist of events, this song kind of actually has nothing to do with chicken tendies. It is also not the same story of heartache the lyrics might suggest—man finds love, man loses love, man still wishes the best for said love. The “he” in this song actually takes the capital “H” as it is really a heart-wrenching recounting of a child losing a parent to religious devotion.



Review by Rena Hailey

From Ruel’s debut album, 4th WALL, “JAPANESE WHISKEY” is a beautifully honest song about liking the thought of something when in reality, we really might not like it all. In some ways, we are all a bit insincere, drinking our Japanese Whiskey and putting on a show when we’d rather have a glass of wine –  Or chocolate milk, or whatever our heart desires. The ending of this song builds to a crescendo-ing guitar solo and a line like a punch to the gut: “I can’t decide if I like it or just can’t let go.”


“Like Wine” — Eva Westphal

Review by Rena Hailey

Singer/Songwriter Eva Westphal celebrates queer love with a fine bottle of wine. Sweet and honest, Westphal’s “Like Wine” is a lesbian anthem with a love story to adore, giving its listeners images of wedding aisles and lasting love.


“Breadcrumb Trails” Slint

Review by Danielle Levitin

This song, part of a dark and mysterious album, places particular emphasis on its lyrics, which always tell compelling narratives. This particular song is about living in the moment without thinking about the future. The narrative unfolds with the ‘narrator’ seeking something representing a childhood fantasy by visiting a carnival to find a pirate ship. However, they end up going to a sideshow because he hears music and wonders why people would want to wait in line (a.k.a. preparing for their future, being normal, etc.).

He then goes over to a fortune teller who asks if he wants his fortune read but he asks if she’d rather go on the rollercoaster, which I believe represents living in the moment. The rollercoaster part is pretty self-explanatory from that angle. Beneath the rollercoaster, a weary individual who has been on the ride multiple times may represent someone in old age reflecting on the escapades of their youth. The ending is about being ok with this new life. Alludes to love being worth it because although the carnival throws shadows on her face you can tell she’s blushing.


“Candy Says” The Velvet Underground

Review by Danielle Levitin

“Candy Says” by The Velvet Underground is a poignant exploration of identity and societal conformity, heavily influenced by the life of Candy Darling, a transgender woman. Born as Jim Slattery, she faced intense challenges, bullying and abuse related to her gender identity. She, at some point, became a part of Andy Warhol’s circle of celebrities, even appearing in his films and mainstream movies. The song’s lyrics, such as “Candy says I’ve come to hate my body / and all it requires in this world” reflect Candy’s inner turmoil and dissatisfaction with her gender identity. Tragically, Candy Darling passed away at the young age of 29 from cancer, leaving behind a note expressing her unhappiness. Lou Reed’s composition pays a touching tribute to her journey while serving as a reminder of the need for empathy and understanding towards those grappling with complex issues of identity in a society that often pressures them to conform.

“Ginger” Hello Mary

Review by Danielle Levitin

Hello Mary is a staple band in the alternative rock scene in NYC. I saw them live and this song was one of my favorites, and the one I keep coming back to. I love the 90s throwback sound they have and the way they layer the dreamy vocals sounds awesome. The song “Ginger” was written when two of the band members, Helena and Mikaela, were only 14, and though the song is catchy, it’s pretty amateur in comparison to what they have recently created and released. “Ginger” didn’t have as much going on in the lyrics as their instruments did, but now they’re adding in some real stuff about emotions and heartbreak. It’s like they started with exploring loneliness and now they’re bringing in the real-life experience.


“Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” — Radiohead

Review by Chris Alberico

As much as this song has nothing to do with food fish, fish are indeed food contrary to what Bruce said in Finding Nemo. This cut hailing from one Radiohead’s best projects, In Rainbows, is definitely a fan favorite for the majority of their listeners. It’s not hard to see why at all either, every track off of In Rainbows has some of the greatest instrumentation and songwriting I’ve ever heard. Initially the song is extremely empty with a simple drum loop, slowly more pieces build into the mix like a mellow guitar riff and some bass to hold down the back end. I want to note, Phil Selway is like an AI, he plays the song’s drum beat exactly the same as the recorded version when live, he really is just built different. My personal tangent aside, I want to emphasize how well they create this impressive atmosphere with such simple parts. The mix is clean and precise, you can pick out each individual instrument, and listening with headphones just makes it an even more satisfying experience. The guitar floats around your head almost reminiscent of how a fish moves through water. As the track escalates, another guitar is thrown in to add more emotional weight to the lyrics. Speaking of the lyrics, Thom’s clean vocals are a highlight of this song. He uses the ocean as a metaphor to detail his struggle with the feeling of stillness brought upon him from a partner that he is in love with. The poetic lyrics, atmospheric production, and stunning vocals all come together to create a beautiful package that is emotionally stirring all throughout the entire five minute and eighteen second runtime. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi definitely deserves its spot as one of Radiohead’s most popular songs. 


“Souvlaki Space Station” — Slowdive

Review by Chris Alberico

You may be wondering, what the heck is a souvlaki, and as a Greek person, I am deeply disappointed. Souvlaki is a Greek meat skewer dish, and it is very good. The album, named just Souvlaki, derives from a tasteless comedy sketch that the band members all approved for some reason (further details about the aforementioned comedy sketch are not FCC friendly). I believe the song title is not just a title track because the “space station” part is meant to give the listener a clue as to what the true meaning of this song is. But before I break down the lyrics, I want to touch on the sonic aspects of this track because it’s some of the most interesting stuff I’ve ever heard. The song opens with some echoing guitars for a minute until they layer on the bass and another guitar in reverse reverb. Everything together sounds otherworldly, almost like we are in a SPACE STATION *gasp* what a dramatic twist. Now for the vocals and lyrics, once Rachel Goswel comes in after the fairly long intro, she sounds just as foreign as the instrumental, but it all mixes well together. Shoegaze is probably the only genre where the vocals are treated as another instrument in the fray and not something that is supposed to stand out, but the band does a great job of bringing it out just enough to where you can make out most of the lyrics. The entire song to me is about that internal struggle someone feels when they are so infatuated with a person who doesn’t give them the time of day. Regardless of the depressing subject matter, this song sounds like the complete opposite. A full analysis of this track would take forever because of all the moving parts so what you just read was simply a small glimpse into this masterpiece. Please listen to not just Souvlaki Space Station, but all of Souvlaki, it will make your ears happy. 


“Eggshells” — Diva Bleach

Review by Lee Ramrattan

I will take every opportunity to talk about this band. When I saw the prompt for this

month’s music picks, I knew I had to talk about this song. The second song off their first EP, No Fun, from 2022, self-proclaimed “Sparkly pop rock” girl group, Diva Bleach perfectly portrays what it’s like to be in a relationship with a person that only cares about themselves, almost narcissistic in a way. The many references to rotting eggs in this song directly compare to how this person treats the narrator, making her ‘walk on eggshells/ to avoid another breakdown’.

Lyrics like “When did you become so bitter?” and “Stop pretending that you care / You’re so

rotten” directly relate to the symbolic rotting egg and I eat it up (pun not intended. Why would I eat a rotten egg anyway?). Diva Bleach manages to make a song with a sad story to it pretty upbeat and danceable, and that’s one of my favorite things about this band. I would definitely recommend checking them out!


“Candy” —Waterparks

Review by Lee Ramrattan

From the Japan-exclusive version of their first studio album Double Dare, “Candy” is a lively, but kind of depressing pop punk song about covering up your feelings with fake happiness. “Candy-coat your problems / If they’re bitter and they’re awful / I won’t let this be a sad song.” Lead singer, Austen Knight, sings about “sugar-coating” his real feelings to convince himself and/or the people around him that he’s actually doing great and that his problems aren’t as bad as they actually are. Lyrics like “My sweet tooth got me a root canal/ But pulling teeth these days seems easy now” make this known, as if maybe the sugar-coating is getting to be too much. Though the message behind the story is dejecting, it’s heavy on the drums, guitar, and has a cheerful melody. I’m a sucker for songs that have some deeper meaning to it and lots of symbolism, and this is definitely one of them, though this is not out of the ordinary for this band.


“Peach” — The Front Bottoms

Review by Lee Ramrattan

“Peach” is the fifth track off of The Front Bottoms’ second studio album, Talon of the

Hawk, one of my personal favorites from this band. It’s a light song about two people who love each other that know they aren’t good for one another, but they still try their best. This can be seen through lyrics that range from “You are the reason I’m smiling/ When there is nothing to smile about” that goes straight to “One day, you will find someone who will love you like you deserve / But tonight, I’m the only one left, and I’m betting it’s a fact that you will never learn.” Even though they really aren’t good for each other, they are still each other’s entire world and that really makes this song sting. The melody is very bright and that honestly makes the meaning behind the song feel a lot deeper, when there’s lyrics like “You are my angel / You are my crime / I’ll serve this sentence the rest of my life.” These lyrics are basically the singer, saying that this person saved him but he knows it isn’t right and he will never get over her. If you ever need a song that will make you cry but want to dance at the same time, this is the song for you.


“Poppin’ Champagne” — All Time Low

Review by Lara Ziccardi

“Poppin’ Champagne” is on All Time Low’s first album, So Wrong, It’s Right. The song to me is always a fun time. As for the meaning, I always think it’s about having a good time while it feels a little wrong. I also take the lyrics as a “screw it, why not!” And of course, champagne’s for celebrating. You best know when I graduate, I’ll be listening to “Poppin’ Champagne” when I pop the champagne.


“Clementine” — Elliott Smith

Review by Gwen Streitman

In true Elliott Smith fashion, this song is drenched in melancholy and heartache. “Clementine” sets the scene on a closing bar, as our main character is being woken up by the bartender after drinking himself to sleep. He is in a fruitless relationship, as Smith writes, “Maybe the whole thing’s wrong / What if she thinks so but just didn’t say so?” He seeks consolation in alcohol, spending his nights out trying to escape what awaits him in his life. The title of the song comes from the classic American folk song, “Oh My Darling, Clementine.” Some of the lyrics from the original folk song are found within this song, but used in a new way ‘dreadful sorry, Clementine,” and “oh my darling, Clementine.” The bartender sings the song as he closes the bar and later on our main character tries everything, quote, “to pass the time / And keep that song out of your mind.” Although “Clementine” doesn’t really feature the fruit, it does feature the delicious inner workings of Elliott Smith’s mind, forever changing anyone who stops to listen.

“American Pie” Don McLean

Review by Luke Adair

This song is and remains one of the most iconic and popular songs in music. The song itself is a part of American culture, people young and old know the lyrics. Its genre is mostly folk, with hints of indie and country mixed in. This song reflects events that happened during the 1960s, and it became so iconic there is a documentary on Paramount+ titled “The Day the Music Died.”

“Cherry Bomb” The Runaways

Review by Luke Adair

This song is a part of punk rock history and not really about food, but it remains to be an iconic track and important staple in Joan Jett’s career. The song itself is about a bad underahed neighborhood girl who is a lot of trouble apparently. This song was created by the Runaways manager alongside Joan Jett. This is the first song Joan Jett ever worked on, so without this song we probably wouldn’t have hits like “I love Rock ‘n’ Roll” or “Bad Reputation.”

“Mango Peach Tree Rascals*

Review by Mia Savidge  

This is one of my summer staples on my playlists, it just gets me in the mood for the season. It has a catchy melody and is reminiscent of coming of age movies or storylines. Some of the lyrics have descriptive language of different features of the time like golden sunsets but also centers around different aspects of life overall.

“Waffle House Jonas Brothers

Review by Ava Scott

Who doesn’t love Waffle House? This catchy Jonas Brothers song is off their newest album,

The Album. Given the title, the song is about… you guessed it, Waffle House! However, the song is deeper than what it sounds like. The meaning comes from the band’s

connection to the infamous diner. During their early touring days, the band and their crew would go to food places like the Waffle House. It became a place where they dreamt up ideas, worked through problems, and gave them the realization that they can work through anything together. After listening to this song, I began to reminisce about my comfort spot I went to growing up.

“Tangerine Dream Charlie Puth

Review by Ava Scott

This mellow song by Charlie Puth was released a decade ago a.k.a. 2013. Puth’s voice accompanied by simple musical instruments makes this song pleasing to listen to. The song can be interpreted as someone who has been distant in a relationship because of these “tangerine dreams.” They recognize that this is an issue, and they want to be with their significant other, but these dreams are overtaking them.

“Champagne Problems Taylor Swift*

Review by Ava Scott

This poetic masterpiece is off of Taylor Swift’s ninth studio album Evermore. The song narrates a rejected marriage proposal and the effect it had on the couple. This entire song takes us on this journey. The lyrics alone bring such raw emotions and encapsulates the narrative of the song perfectly. The lyrics, “I was never ready, so I watch you go / Sometimes you just don’t know the answer “‘til someone’s on their knees and asks you,” speaks volumes. Out of the three songs I have chosen for this music picks article, this one has to be my favorite because of the storytelling and emotion that goes on throughout the song.

“Tangerine” — Glass Animals

Review by Emily “Emol” McCormack

This song takes me back to the middle of 2020 when Glass Animals released their album Dreamland after several COVID-19 pandemic and other related delays. I became increasingly obsessed with their discography during that year, and cite this album as what carried me though such an isolated period. Even before the album release, singles “Your Love (Déjà Vu)” and “Tokyo Drifting” took over my daily playlists, and I had no doubt the rest of the album would be just as delicious – what I didn’t anticipate, however, was how juicy this track would be. “Tangerine,” which became a post-album-release single in October 2020, made its way onto the radio and my personal daily playlist, and I simply could not get enough of this song the latter half of the year. 

There are some songs that, in time, I can get a little bit tired of hearing on repeat… but somehow, I could never consume enough of “Tangerine.” This is largely due to the catchy tune of the track, especially in the chorus. I found myself pacing my household humming “Hands, knees, please / Tangerine, sugar, honey, sweet / Got what I need, tangerine” (And, often, this song would happen to start playing on the radio – The DJs were certainly tuning into my brain with this one). 

Some other honorable food-related mentions from this album include “Melon and the Coconut,” “Waterfalls Coming Out Your Mouth,” and “Hot Sugar” (aka, my soundtrack of 2020). 


“Caramel” Suzanne Vega

Review by Payton McHugh

“Caramel” is a tribute to the Bossa Nova songs of the 60’s, but takes a more sultry approach. With a hint of funk, this song creates a warm atmosphere that engulfs you as you listen. The song as a whole is roomy, but smooth and determined vocals seem to blanket you. It feels like she’s singing directly to you. The instrumental, which is made up of a cacophony of instruments, stands out. Skillfully implemented horns, trumpet, clarinet, and more that help form the unique sound. The song is definitely reminiscent of Bossa Nova, and it’s most clear to see in the percussion. The song’s namesake, “Caramel,” is a metaphor for the thing you want but know you can’t have. The song is very personal, Vega tells a story that we can all relate to.


“Quiche Lorraine” B-52’s

Review by Payton McHugh

In typical B-52’s fashion, this song is more absurd than you’d anticipate; it tells the story of a traitor dog. The song opens with just one guitar note, plucked and plucked. Frederick William Schneider gets us ready for the tale with some somber exposition, then the drums come in. Then we meet our title character, Quiche La Poodle. At this point the song is in full swing, the funky keyboard is bright, and there are hints of their surf-rock guitar. The shrill yet somehow angelic vocals of Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson are the cherry on top. The B5-2’s ironic jerky sound is unique yet generic all at once. This song captures their ridiculousness that you also see in some fan favorites like “Love Shack” and “Rock Lobster.” Though it never nearly came to match the popularity of those tracks, I would consider this one of the essential campy songs of the B-52’s. Not revolutionary, but quintessential to truly understanding their quirkiness.


“Hungry Like the Wolf” Duran Duran

Review by Payton McHugh

This 80’s hit comes from Duran Duran’s second studio album, Rio, which UK audiences received with open arms. The music video was picked up by MTV in 1982, opening the door to American audiences. Soon after, it was picked up by American radio stations and was quickly certified gold. The song jumps right into its campy pop beat, blazing synths and kicking drums. It was a time in music where artists were searching to find new sounds and that is clear to see in “Hungry Like the Wolf.” The lyrics are rich in adjectives. The aesthetic of words trump all else, giving us lines like “Darken the city, night is a wire / Steam in the subway, earth is afire.” The song is incredibly catchy, the classic do-do-dos permeating the chorus, and will likely stick in your mind for the following week after listening. The synths are dynamic and are essential to the sound, coupled with the bass and backing vocals you get an iconic time capsule of the early days of New Wave.


*These songs contain explicit lyrics.

Photos from Amazon.com; “Tangerine Dream” photo from Genius.


You can check out WMSC Music Picks: Halloween Favorites 2023 here