Breakfast of champions: Songs that use cereal as a metaphor
Music that makes you think about breakfast in whole new ways
At the height of her commercial success in the ’90s, Tori Amos scored a hit with “Cornflake Girl,” a song inspired by Alice Walker’s Possessing The Secret Of Joy, which explores the unpleasant subject of ritual female circumcision. Amos took her horror at the practice and extended it to include the many ways women harm one another. Amos isn’t the only lyricist to use the ol’ cereal-as-metaphor trick. Ahead of Amos’ appearance tonight at the Riverside Theater, The A.V. Club looks at other songs using this breakfast-oriented literary device.
1. LL Cool J, “Milky Cereal”
In “Milky Cereal” from 1990’s Mama Said Knock You Out, women and sex are substituted by bowls of sugary breakfast food. The ladies are named Frosted Flake, Pebbles, and Lucky Charms, and while the metaphor strays at times (“A guy walked over, said, ‘Your earring's cute’ / I said, ‘I'm wearin’ a earring, but it ain't no Fruit Loop’”) it really hits the mark when describing J’s encounter with Frosted Flake’s father, who says “That's my daughter, so save your croonin’ / You better find another bowl of cereal to stick your spoon in." Dad? Eww.
2. Black Eyed Peas, “My Humps”
Fergie’s “hump” and “lady lumps” get all the attention on this single from the 2005 release Monkey Business, but don’t overlook the sexy cereal reference: “Mix your milk with my Cocoa Puff / Milky milky cocoa / Mix your milk with my Cocoa Puff / Milky milky right.” It’s unclear whether Will.I.Am is speaking for himself or quoting a girl at the bar, but in either case the mixing of milk and a Cocoa Puff is clearly not as innocent as it was back in your school days.
3. Def Leppard, “Pour Some Sugar On Me”
Cereal is never actually mentioned in “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” But, really, what do you normally pour sugar on? Not coffee—sugar goes in coffee. Not strawberries; they get dipped in sugar. No, the only thing you pour sugar on is cereal, unless you’re a sweets-craving lunatic. More specifically, singer Joe Elliott is peaches and cream oatmeal: “You got the peaches, I got the cream / Sweet to taste, saccharine / 'Cos I'm hot, sticky sweet / From my head to my feet.”
4. Neil Diamond, “Crunchy Granola Suite”
Neil Diamond might tell you it’s just about healthy food, but the crunchy granola here actually equals marijuana. This gem from the 1971 album Stones includes lyrics about “growin’ your own tea,” but that’s not as clear as this story in the song about a man who was “out of touch”: “Not only couldn’t relax, but he couldn’t relate / Now he can / Family man / Tried my brand / Dig.” Diamond liked crunchy granola even more than he liked red, red wine—dig?