This Tuesday was of course Valentine’s Day–or, as we like to call it at Dystopian Dance Party, Discount Candy Day’s Eve. Yes, there comes a time in everyone’s life when the week of February 14th starts to be less about candlelit dinners and roses, and more about maximizing the bags of heart-shaped chocolate you can purchase with the $9.87 left in your bank account; and, as you might expect, both of us turned the corner on that particular issue a long time ago. So in this post-Valentine’s week, whether you’re recovering from a night of full-on romance/plowing or nursing a recently-broken heart, why not take a moment to appreciate the one thing we all share: a tragic lack of self-control when it comes to sugary treats. Here are 17 songs about candy to satisfy your sweet tooth; try not to give yourself a stomach ache.
1. BABYMETAL: “Gimme Chocolate!!”
(from BABYMETAL, 2014)
Let’s be clear: a thrash metal/J-pop song about chocolate written and performed by a trio of Japanese Gothic Lolita schoolgirls is not a thing that should exist. But it does, and somehow I’m okay with that. From its mechanically-voiced spoken introduction–a sly nod to Sabbath’s “Iron Man”?–to its pure sugar rush of a chorus, BABYMETAL’s “Gimme Chocolate!!” is surprisingly adept at capturing the intricacies of a sugar addict’s mental space. Oh, and in case you don’t speak Japanese, allow BABYMETAL’s Nakamoto Suzuka (a.k.a. Su-metal) to explain: the song is “about girls and women who love to eat chocolate. But they are (…) afraid about putting on weight.” Who among us can’t relate?
2. New Edition: “Candy Girl”
(from Candy Girl, 1983)
One of the most important things I learned while making this playlist is that it’s hard not to sound skeevy when comparing women to candy. So it should come as no surprise that it’s even harder not to sound skeevy when your woman-to-candy metaphors are being filtered through the barely-pubescent voices of five precocious 13-to-15-year-olds. That, presumably, is what producer Maurice Starr discovered when he cut this debut single by Boston child-endangerment-lawsuit-waiting-to-happen New Edition; hence why his next project, New Kids on the Block, appeared at least a little closer to sexual maturity when they debuted in 1986. But it’s still kind of weird how he started the group by pulling up in an unmarked van and asking Jordan and Jonathan Knight if they wanted candy. (Disclaimer: Maurice Starr did not actually do this. Please don’t sue us, Maurice.)
3. Soul for Real: “Candy Rain”
(from Candy Rain, 1995)
If you already have this New Jack slow jam pegged as another awkward sex-as-candy-binge song, then I don’t blame you; the truth, however, is quite a bit weirder and more psychedelic. Here’s the chorus: “My love, do you ever dream of / Candy coated rain drops / You’re the same, my candy rain.” What does that even mean?! I guess we can always ask Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest; because, in the weirdest twist of all, he’s the first listed co-writer on the track.
4. The Dirtbombs: “Hot Sour Salty Sweet”
(from Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-blooey!, 2013)
The bubblegum pop genre is named primarily for its confectionary, low-substance style of songwriting and production; but it also doesn’t hurt that the songs are often about some kind of candy-like substance (see, for example, the Archies’ “Sugar, Sugar,” or “Yummy Yummy Yummy” by Ohio Express). Based on their 2013 bubblegum pastiche Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-blooey!, this is something the Dirtbombs clearly understand. Were it not for the slightly-too-aggressive fuzz bass attack and frontman Mick Collins’ slightly-too-explicit double entendres, I’d almost think “Hot Sour Salty Sweet” was some unearthed gem from the Buddah Records archives; it’s as candy-coated as a song can get without actively causing toothaches.
5. India.Arie featuring Musiq Soulchild: “Chocolate High”
(from Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics, 2009)
Okay, I know this song is another thinly-disguised metaphor for sex, mixed with an affirmational “Black is Beautiful” message. But hear me out: I actually prefer to listen to this track by neo-soul artists/sentient bottles of shea butter India.Arie and Musiq Soulchild as if they’re talking about actual chocolate. Take these lyrics, for example: “I crave you, I want you / Every cell in my body needs you / Tasty like Hershey’s and Nestle / You’re rich like Godiva, boy, you just so sexy.” Take out the “boy” (or, hell, leave it in), and I’m pretty sure that’s exactly how Callie feels about chocolate. It totally works!
6. 50 Cent featuring Olivia: “Candy Shop”
(from The Massacre, 2005)
Yes, we already used this track on our playlist of songs about dicks from last year; but when a song this perfect is staring you in the face, you can’t not use it. So here, again, is “Candy Shop,” a song I’m at least 90% sure is not about Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Olivia “Olivia” Longott taking an actual trip to Mr. Bulky’s. And if it is, then that’s really messed up, because Fiddy shouldn’t have let Olivia “lick the lollipop” until it was safely purchased and out of the store. Haven’t you people ever heard of the health code?
7. The Beatles: “Savoy Truffle”
(from The Beatles, 1968)
One of a handful of wry little numbers contributed by George Harrison to the Beatles’ self-titled “White Album,” “Savoy Truffle” is a warning about the perils of eating too much candy, right up there on the buzzkill meter with that song the Oompa Loompas sang to Augustus Gloop. Apparently inspired by his friend Eric Clapton’s weakness for Mackintosh’s Good News chocolates, Harrison’s foreboding chorus–“you’ll have to have them all pulled out after the Savoy Truffle”–is enough to warn anyone off the sweet stuff. But, while I’m not necessarily saying there’s a connection, let me just note that Clapton started using heroin a few years after “Savoy Truffle” was released. So really, George, was chocolate that bad for him?
8. Trick Daddy featuring Ludacris, Lil’ Kim, and Cee-Lo Green: “Sugar (Gimme Some)”
(from Thug Matrimony: Married to the Streets, 2005)
Before he was a highly-sought-after commentator on the comparative merits of women from various races, Trick Daddy was but a humble rapper from the Dirty South, offering soul-infused cuts laden with sexual innuendos and featuring like-minded artists like Ludacris, Lil’ Kim, and Goodie-Mob-crooner-recently-turned-C-3PO-with-dwarfism-cosplayer Cee-Lo Green. So far be it from him to turn up his nose at one of those low-hanging pussy-as-candy metaphors, like these choice lines from 2005’s “Sugar”: “Gimme some of your butter pecan / Put it right there on the tip of my tongue / Hold it, right jeeeah / ‘Cause baby, if I bite you I bet you’ll like it / French Vanilla’s a hell of a flavor for me / With strawberries, two cherries, and whipped cream.” Actually, now that I think about it–butter pecan? French Vanilla? Maybe Trick Daddy really was always an expert on sexual eugenics.
9. E-40 featuring Bun B and Slim Thug: “That Candy Paint”
(from Revenue Retrievin’: Graveyard Shift, 2011)
By this point, you might have gotten the idea that genitals are the only things rappers like to compare to candy. That, however, would be incorrect: there’s also brightly-colored paint jobs on big-ass cars–hence Dorrough’s 2009 crunk hit “Ice Cream Paint Job,” as well as this lesser-known variation on the theme by Bay Area hyphy stalwart E-40. It doesn’t really have fuck-all to do with actual candy, but at least it’s a brief respite from the sexual innuendo.
10. R. Kelly: “Sweet Tooth”
(from Double Up, 2007)
Aaaaaaand, respite over. Honestly, it’s almost too easy to choose R. Kelly tracks for these playlists; name pretty much any topic, however obscure, and the chances are good that Kellz has written a labored sexual metaphor of a song around it. “Sweet Tooth” is no exception–just take a listen to the chorus: “I can’t wait to drink your milk / You’re looking like a big ol’ piece of cake / I’m all up in your middle / Ooh, it taste like Skittles / I’m just keeping it real with you / Girl, I got a sweet tooth.” Disgusting? Very. But it’s tailor-made for our theme, so in it goes.
11. Marvin Sease: “Candy Licker”
(from Marvin Sease, 1986)
But as disgusting as R. Kelly’s candy metaphors are–and they are completely disgusting–he can’t hold a candle to the O.G.: South Carolinian blues pervert Marvin Sease, who made an entire career out of advertising his verve for cunnilingus with a series of increasingly unsettling comparisons to foodstuffs. “Candy Licker,” his first endeavor in the genre, is actually pretty tame, as far as his canon goes–by which I mean it’s ten full minutes of Marvin promising to “lick you up,” “lick you down,” and “lick you ’til you cum,” but at least he isn’t comparing anybody’s cooch to rotten eggs. So enjoy, and remember, it could be worse.
12. SSM: “Candy Loving”
(from SSM, 2006)
Like their Motor City neighbors the Dirtbombs, mid-2000s post-garage trio SSM are clearly well-versed in the tropes of ’60s bubblegum: just listen to that Farfisa by frontman/keyboardist John Szymanski. But their take on the formula has a little more bite, with an audible leer in Szymanski’s voice when he sings about “little boys” wanting “candy loving.” It helps, of course, that the title doubles as a reference to the real Candy Loving, Playboy‘s well-endowed Miss January 1979 who, one imagines, a lot of boys did like to keep “within reach always.” So does that make this a single or a triple entendre?
13. Cee-Lo: “Sexual Chocolate”
(from Violator: The Album, V2.0, 2001)
Sexual Chocolate is of course the backing band of Jackson Heights’ own Randy Watson, possessor of one of the finest jheri curls in film history. But it’s also, apparently, a kind of dance described by Cee-Lo Green on this 2001 track from way back when Cee-Lo was a fun hip-hop soul singer, and not the leading role in an all-Black direct-to-video version of Bicentennial Man who also has really troubling views on rape. Remember those days? I miss those days. Anyway, Sexual Chocolate!
14. Mary Jane Girls: “Candy Man”
(from Mary Jane Girls, 1983)
The Candyman, as portrayed by actor Tony Todd in the 1992 film of the same title, is a nightmarish figure of urban legend with a hook protruding from his right arm and a tendency to appear covered in swarming bees. The “Candy Man,” as described by the Rick James-produced girl group the Mary Jane Girls, is “the sweetest man I know” and is known to bring his girlfriend(s) breakfast in bed. Neither of these are actually related to candy–though, fun fact, if you leave a bunch of sugar out in the heat, it will probably end up swarming with bees, too.
15. Lil’ Kim featuring Sisqó: “How Many Licks?”
(from The Notorious K.I.M., 2000)
Honestly, I feel kind of stupid even “explaining” that this turn-of-the-millennium hit by Lil’ Kim is a hypersexualized take on those old Tootsie Pop commercials where the anthropomorphic owl tests how many licks it takes to get to the lollipop’s chocolate center. We’re all adults here, we get it. But I will say this: ladies, if you ever get the chance for Mr. Owl to eat you out, just don’t do it. That asshole will take three licks and then chomp down on that sucker like nobody’s business. It will not be pretty.
16. Lil Wayne featuring Static Major: “Lollipop”
(from Tha Carter III, 2008)
Fellas, the same advice from the previous entry also goes for you. No matter how tempting that luscious beak looks, just say no. It will bring you nothing but pain and a hideously mangled penis. I repeat: do not let that owl suck your dick.
17. mc chris: “I Want Candy”
(from Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters Colon the Soundtrack, 2007)
And now, at last, we close with a rare candy song that is actually about candy. Performed by “nerdcore” rapper mc chris as his Aqua Teen Hunger Force character “MC Pee Pants,” a child rapper who is actually a giant spider wearing a disposable diaper (don’t ask), “I Want Candy” can still be appreciated on its own merits as a relatable ode to the sweet stuff: “I need candy, any kind’ll do / Don’t care if it’s nutritious or ‘FDA approved’ / It’s gonna make me spaz like bobcats on booze / A hyperactive juice that only I can produce / And fuel a giant drill, bore straight into Hell / Releasing ancient demons from their sleep forever spell / So they can walk upon the earth, and get resituated / And hock the diet pills that MC Pee Pants has created.” See? It’s basically universal.