Cibo Matto, meaning “crazy food” in Italian, is an unusual group comprised of two Japanese expatriates, Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori. Their debut album, 1997’s Viva! La Woman is, fittingly, made up of songs either literally or allegorically about food, sung (and rapped!) in both French and English. Their music is no less eclectic; “Sugar Water” alone samples the beat from the Cure’s “Pictures of You,” Ennio Morricone’s “Sospesi Nel Cielo,” and the guitar riff from Paul Weller’s “Hung Up,” all combined to create an otherworldly, meditative song with a wordless chorus.
Cibo Matto is as unabashedly feminine as they are weird. A fascination, and indeed obsession with food is something that is particularly female–whether that obsession takes its form in eating disorders, cooking, or the infamous state of “hangriness,” characterized by being a bitch until fed. Women seem to have a special connection with food, and having a complete album–and band name–centered around the love of food is almost unthinkable for a male group. I mean, the song “Birthday Cake” is told from the perspective of a mother angrily and reluctantly baking a cake for her adult son’s birthday; that’s about as feminine as it gets.
Tomorrow we close out our second week of Women’s History Month! As always, here are the Spotify and YouTube playlists: