Critical Rice Rhythms – Breakfast is Served

During the initial weird months after the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, I had resorted to food-themed music lists as a way to keep my food and music interests (I had plenty of time to explore music working from home exclusively) going in a novel way.

I realized in looking back at my blog that I hadn’t done this in awhile. Also, I realized that the old name (the 614ortyplatter, a nod to my former blog) wouldn’t make sense.

Thus, with a slight name change, why not re-up a way that was a fun way to discover both some food knowledge and some new music to me. And I couldn’t think of a better topic with a return to the beginning of sorts, nodding to favorite meal of the day for my spouse and me in breakfast.

In addition, I thought these posts could improve in terms of bringing exposure to music artists, which range from well-known to folks doing more out of love. Every song and artist header featured has a link to the source which I believe would help you explore the artist best. I’ve been doing my best to buy music and merchandise when I can afford to do so, and I’m certain that they would appreciate the same if you like what you hear from readers of this blog.

As you may have noticed, I’ve also moved to Apple Music since my last music post, mainly because they pay artists better per stream than they do on Spotify. Of course, the rates paid by most streaming services are fairly paltry, but that is in itself a topic that can wait until later in a future blogpost.

And now, grab a seat of the table and let’s start the day off right…

  1. “Be Sweet” – Japanese Breakfast: A traditional breakfast in Japan consists of Gohan (steamed white or brown rice), Miso Shiru (a Miso Soup), and a protein of some sort such as an over easy egg or grilled fish. Breakfast is generally not a sweet affair, not unlike this tune from Michelle Zauner’s third solo album “Jubilee”, a catchy start to this meal and a mere hint of just how big the last two years have been for her (including this well-received album, she added in a soundtrack to the video game “Sable” later in the year, and her memoir “Crying in H-Mart”, detailing her life growing up Korean-American in the Pacific Northwest, garnered rave reviews, awards, and a planned film adaptation.
  2. “Ya Ayouni” – Saad Lamjarred: Moving onto North Africa, breakfasts in Morocco tend to be fairly basic, but some specialties such as Sfenj (a fried fritter), Harcha (a semolina flour bread dipped in honey and soft cheese), and B’sarra (a fava bean soup spiced with cumin and chilis.) Appropriately, we include the number one song on the Moroccan music charts at this moment, a lovely, languid tune that I wouldn’t mind waking up to before breakfast time.
  3. “Ackee 1 2 3” – The English Beat: Found spread out through the Caribbean, West Africa, Central America and South Florida, Ackee fruit is abundant in Jamaica and is popular pairing with codfish as a starting meal by many on this island nation. The influential British ska/new wave act The English Beat references this Jamaican specialty on what would be their final album “Special Beat Service”, an album that bombed in their native UK but found a home in the US with songs like “Save It For Later” and “I Confess.”
  4. “Cinnamon Girl” – Neil Young & Crazy Horse: I do love a good cinnamon roll in the morning, which most historians have traced to Northern Europe and the Scandinavian country of Sweden. I also do love a blast of classic rock and roll every once in awhile to start my morning, and “Cinnamon Girl” was among the first songs Young recorded with backing band Crazy Horse off the 1969 album “Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere.”
  5. “Dancing Queen” – Omelet: Like other food items, the origin of the Denver Omelet (another of my favorite breakfast items) has a muddled history; no one is even sure that the omelet actually originated in the Mile-High City, unlike the Denver Sandwich (which, interestingly enough, seems to be only alive and well in the Midwest of this country.) Keeping our Scandinavian vibe alive, we bring forth the Finnish three-piece Omelet, whose tribute to their Swedish pop powerhouse neighbors Abba can be found on their 2008 album “The Best of Omelet.”
  6. “Guten Morgen Müsli” – Klanggold: We’ve reached the “mushy” part of our playlist with the arrival of Muesli. This creation of Swiss Physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner, this mix of oats, apples, condensed milk, nuts and lemon juice has become a staple of this alpine region of Europe, with mass-production brands reaching the market around 1960. Founded in 2006, the Munich-based outfit Klanggold describes their music on their Bandcamp page as “experimental in nature, which draws its influences from many genres” and with the “goal of releasing interesting music.”
  7. “Oatmeal” – José-Luis Orozco: Based out of Santa Cruz, California, José-Luis Orozco has made a career of producing bilingual songs geared towards children, including this ode to this childhood staple from his album “¡Come Bien! Eat Right!”
  8. “7 Seconds” – Porridge Radio: in general, porridge and its variants are a worldwide breakfast staple, from the Filipino Arrozcaldo to the Mexican Chumparrado, the Ethiopian Genfo to the South Indian/Sri Lankan Upma, and many many more variations. Hailing from the UK, the Brighton-based indie rock outfit Porridge Radio has been simmering tunes since 2015, with the 2020 release “7 Seconds” sporting a more upbeat-than-typical vibe.
  9. “Doughnut” – TWICE: As it turns out, the South Korean market has become fertile ground for chain donut makers like Krispy Kreme and Dunkin. Meanwhile, the mom and pop establishments producing the traditional kkwabaegi donuts have been slowly disappearing, according to this article. On the other hand, there seems to be no stopping the all-female, nine-member K-Pop outfit TWICE, formed in 2015 and whose latest single “Doughnut” was released to the Japanese market December 2021.
  10. “Hu Chagi Ha'” – Kc Deleon Guerrero: Breakfast in the Territory of Guam reflects a number of cultural influences (Filipino, American and Spanish, among them) but perhaps none brings up more native Chamorro pride than the Chamorro Sausage, a mix of ground pork, diced onions, and local spices grilled like ground beef. Perhaps another reflection of the island’s diversity, Kc Deleon Guerrero’s “Hu Chagi Ha'”, from the Chamorro Greatest Hits Vol. 3 Compilation, sports a sound that would sound at home on an American country music station.
  11. “Coffee” – beabadoobee: A little jolt of caffeine finally arrives to this playlist in the form of this subtle, lo-fi ditty from Filipino/British artist beabadoobee (aka Beatrice Laus), who was only 17 when she composed the track. As much as her early work gained her critical acclaim and attention, it wasn’t until Canadian lo-fi/rap artist Powfu used a sample from the song for his 2020 single release “Death Bed (Coffee For Your Head)” where she was discovered by a worldwide audience. The song became a viral Tiktok sensation (garnering 4.1 billion views in March 2020 alone) and a smash hit song for both artists around the globe.
  12. “Wake Up” – Rage Against The Machine: Now that we received our caffeine, I think we can rightfully say we’ve woken up. To note that, we close out our playlist with this song from RATM’s debut 1992 album, which was never released as a single but whose message against racism in the U.S. Government has traditionally closed out the band’s sets before the encore. The song received additional exposure when the original The Matrix movie used featured this tune prominently in the film’s closing scenes.

Link to Playlist:

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