We have five senses – touch, smell, hearing, sight, and taste. They help us to understand, identify, and determine things about the world around us. One of them, taste, is a word that can be used to describe things that have nothing to do with tasting anything literally.
There aren’t that many good songs about taste. Food and how it tastes could be considered a rather limited subject for a songwriter. But, some use the word taste as a description of something else.
- As A Metaphor
- Top 8 Songs About Taste
- Looking for More Great Songs?
- Songs About Taste – Final Thoughts
As A Metaphor
Taste is often used metaphorically. You could say you want a taste of what a place has to offer, meaning let’s try it out. Or, you could say something could be in good taste.
But, when we taste something, it isn’t always nice. Things can be bitter or sour. Sometimes, we also use that as a metaphor if something rather unpleasant has happened that leaves a bitter taste.
So, let’s have a look at how the sensation of taste and what we eat, and how it is used metaphorically, occurs in music, starting with…
Top 8 Songs About Taste
Kisses Sweeter Than Wine by The Weavers
This is a song with a fascinating history. The Weavers were formed in Greenwich Village in New York in 1948. They were known mostly as a folk group and achieved both popularity and notoriety.
Peter Seeger was the most recognizable of the original four. They sold over four million records and were very popular on the folk circuit. But, within four years, they were forced to disband and had also become reviled over their perceived political activity.
They Helped To Set The Scene
Here we go again. Isn’t it good to have freedom of speech? Despite the actions of some low-intellect individuals who caused the problems, they set the scene for something to come. Something more direct, to the point, and much more powerful.
Just two words tell us what was coming – Bob Dylan.
How “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine” could be deemed as political and sensitive is beyond me. Pete Seeger and Lee Hays adapted the song in 1950 and wrote new words. It was taken from a track by Lead Belly from 1937, “If It Wasn’t for Dicky“.
In turn, that was taken from a traditional Irish folk tune, “Drimindown / Drumion Dubh.” The Weavers version was released in 1951 and reached #19 on the American chart. It is still a popular song even today.
Need a Little Taste of Love by The Isley Brothers
The Isley Brothers maybe didn’t reach the commercial heights of other male singing groups of the era like The Temptations or The Miracles. But they released plenty of albums with good songs in their time.
This is a track taken from their twelfth album, Live It Up, which was released in 1974. Very much a disco song and typical of its time. It has a bass line with far too much overdrive that detracts from what he is playing, which isn’t bad at all.
It was also covered by the Doobie Brothers, who, to be honest, did a much better job of the song. The Doobies included it on their 1989 album, Cycles. This is a song that uses the word taste figuratively, with the singer saying he needs a little taste of love.
Savoy Truffle by The Beatles
So, what do so many people like the taste of? The answer is probably chocolate, and this is a track about a box of chocolates. Can I get away with that to include it as a song that talks about taste?
This is a song written by George about his favorite chocolates. Not anything elaborate from Belgium or Switzerland, but a box of good old plain Mackintosh’s Good News. He wrote it for a friend to encourage him to stop eating so much chocolate because, guess what? He liked the taste.
It is a track from what was probably the best album they recorded, The White Album. It goes through the box, making mention of most of the chocolates included in this variety pack. And adding a few where necessary.
It is a song that had various conflicting reviews…
Some thought it showed George’s increasing maturity as a songwriter. Others called it one of the lesser songs on the album. Lesser or not, let’s ask the question. Did Ella Fitzgerald record lesser songs? Of course not. Here is her version from 1969 from her album, Ella.
In many ways, it was a return to The Beatles’ early days. It was a basic Rock n Roll rhythm and had a pleasing simplicity. The saxophones with a bit of added distortion are an interesting idea.
Bitter Creek by The Eagles
Here is a song that uses “bitter” to describe a situation. Eating something with a bitter taste is not everybody’s idea of being nice. Most people prefer something sweet.
Additionally, calling a situation “bitter” means it is not a nice situation at all and will leave a bitter taste in your mouth. And, so it is with this track from what I’ve always thought was The Eagles’ best album, Desperado.
The album told stories of the Wild West…
On the album, the song is placed near the end, just before the final shootout. It was written and sung by Bernie Leadon. The album was recorded at Island Studios in London and was produced by Glyn Johns.
The song is about one of the members of the Doolin-Dalton gang being warned about the future. Telling him to change his ways and not to “wade too deep in Bitter Creek.” The bitter taste is used to describe the eventual misery that can only come with a life of crime.
On an album of outstanding tracks from start to finish, this is one of the more meaningful songs. The album was a moderate success reaching #39 in the UK and #41 in America. Some of the songs were permanent fixtures in Eagles concerts for years.
Brown Sugar by The Rolling Stones
A song released by the Rolling Stones in 1971 from the album, Sticky Fingers. It reached #1 in both the UK and America.
The song came at a difficult time for the Stones. They were in desperate need of something to push them back up the ladder. “Honky Tonk Women” had been a big success in 1969.
But after that, they struggled a bit…
Jagger and Richards weren’t coming up with songs deemed good enough. They released “Satisfaction” again, and their next single was a return to the early 60s with Chuck Berry’s “Little Queenie.”
“Brown Sugar,” written mainly by Jagger, gave them another impetus. Jagger and Richards often liked to try and write songs to shock us with their inferences and lyrics. This was a good example.
There are too many interpretations to go into them all. Most of them are probably best left unsaid anyway. But, one of the inferences is not a literal meaning of the sweetness we get from “Brown Sugar” in our coffee.
Sour Milk Sea by Jackie Lomax
Let’s return to George Harrison and this song that he wrote on one of his sojourns in India. It is a powerful song that was included in a packaged marketing exercise for Apple Records called “Our First Four.”
It wasn’t a success…
Even though it had everything going for it. A good song and a very good vocal performance from Lomax, who had previously been a member of The Undertakers. Three of the four Beatles played on it, with Nicky Hopkins adding some piano.
However, its lack of initial success may have been because included in the “Our First Four” package were “Hey Jude” and also Mary Hopkins’s “Those Were the Days.”
An interesting play on taste in the lyrics of a song. Inferring that when you are swallowed up in bad feelings and hate, it leaves a very sour taste in your mouth.
A Taste Of Honey by The Beatles
This is a song that caused a little bit of a stir in some circles. Originally, the song was written by Rick Marlow and Bobby Scott for a play. The play was called “A Taste of Honey” and was written by Shelagh Delaney. It became a film in 1961.
It caused a bit of a stir…
That’s because The Beatles included it on their first album, Please Please Me. That put it alongside rockers like “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Boys.”
Likewise, it was interesting because it showed us very early on that The Beatles had another side to them. They could deliver a “standard ballad” as well as Rock n Roll. But it was not included on the album for that reason.
It had been a fixed part of their stage show in Hamburg, at the Cavern in Liverpool, and as they began to tour elsewhere. This is a song about the taste of a first kiss and how it tastes sweeter than wine.
Sugar Mama by Taste
Songs about taste, well how about to finish this list a song about sweetness from the band called Taste. “Sugar mama, please come back to me – Bring my granulated sugar, and ease my misery.”
This is a Blues song first recorded by Tampa Red in 1934. It has subsequently been reworked on several occasions. This version is from Taste from their album of the same name, released in 1969.
The Most Underrated?
Many people would agree that Rory Gallagher was one of the most underrated guitarists ever. His Blues-slide playing was exceptional, and he could produce electrifying solos without the need for floppy hats and 300 effects pedals.
He was voted the world’s best guitarist in a Melody Maker poll. This particular track is taken from their album simply called Taste.
It was usually a fixture of their live shows…
You can hear it at their epic performance at the Isle of Wight festival in 1970, What’s Going On Taste Live At The Isle Of Wight.
Taste was one of half a dozen bands who were leading the British Blues revival. The other main player was Fleetwood Mac. Both had exceptional Blues guitarists. Peter Green with Fleetwood Mac and Rory Gallagher with Taste.
If you liked your Blues more soulful and thoughtful, then ‘Mac’ was the band for you. But, if you preferred it harder and with a rough, almost uncontrolled edge, then Taste was the band to listen to. This was a track that showed just that.
Looking for More Great Songs?
Well, take a look at our detailed articles on the Top Songs About Food, the Best Songs About Tequila, the Top Songs About Eating Disorders, the Best Songs About Ice Cream, and the Top Songs About Water for more great song selections.
Also, you need to hear those tunes. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Headphones for Music, the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best Headphones For Rock & Metal Music, the Best True Wireless Earbuds, as well as the Best Headphones Under $200 you can buy in 2023.
Songs About Taste – Final Thoughts
Has that awoken your taste buds? It should have. There is plenty of variation in my rundown as to how taste is portrayed in music. It can be literal, or it can be figurative. Either way, there is some great music about taste involved.
Until next time, happy listening.