10
Aug 04

To continue my

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To continue my theme of songs on a theme, two particular tunes have been haunting me this week. The first is by the dearly departed ironist Mr Johnny Cash and is called ‘Strawberry Cake’. The second is by a similarly dearly departed heart warmer and horn blower Mr Louis Armstrong and is called ‘Cheesecake’.

There is something so deliciously and nonsensically subversive about songs about cake. Cash’s song is actually *about* the Marie Antoinette inequality between the cake eaters and the non-cake eaters. In it, Johnny ponders the relative merits of a tramp he has seen and a strawberry cake in the hotel in which he’s staying. Next to the spoken word intro on the live album of the same name, its stupidly effective, especially with the back cover shot of Johnny gorging himself. Louis’ effort is nothing short of genius. ‘Cheesecake, gobble, gobble, cheesecake’ he intones, stripping Cash’s song of its hand wringing, taking on the role of that song’s tramp I suppose. The sheer joy with which he munches his way through the lyric speaks volumes. As do the backing vocals that sound like Animal from The Muppets.

But, of course, the much-maligned state of musical irony means that no one has bothered typing out the words for one of those multitudinous online lyric sites. Take this one, ‘real people, honest music’, scant regard for silliness. Yup, romanticised notions of ‘art’ mean these songs are curiosities at best. Harrumph, as ever. But it’s not hard to construct a tottering simile suggesting these songs are meta comments on pop music itself, that joyful pure pleasure-seeking, conspicuous consumption but ain’t it fun, ‘let them eat Busted’ and all that. And from this point of view, ‘MacArthur Park‘ almost makes some kind of self-referential sense.

So, with no further ado, any other cake songs? I want more than just lyrics or mentions of Cake and The Sea and Cake…

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