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I think the problem with the song has to do with a cultural difference-- here in America, we were inundated with jokes on the topics covered for several years previous to its release. Late night talk shows, "humorous" articles in the newspaper, etc. Tammy Faye Baker, Elvis, and the other public figures the Crowdies were taking jabs at were tired, cliched premises by then.

It's not that anyone was offended, other than by the fact that the song just isn't funny in the least. Americans love to laugh at themselves, it's just they'd already moved on to fresher topics by then. The fact that a lot of you have never heard of Tammy Baker says it all to me-- people in other countries simply have no idea why this song is so incredibly lame.

I remember when I first heard the song on the radio, I thought to myself, "This must be the worst song I have ever heard." What a shame to find out it was by my favorite band.
I don't mean to speak for everybody. I'm just trying to explain why I and the other Americans I know don't like this, the most strangely galvanizing of CH songs.

There are plenty of people who would laugh themselves silly if Neil wrote a song about OJ and the Dancing Itos. They just haven't grown tired of the subject matter from watching the same TV shows and jokes that others have. Nothing wrong with that at all-- it's what makes people different.

I just don't like the impression that America snubbed the song because we think we're so great and hate being made fun of. I like it musically.
For all those in the good old US of A, the Finn's hail of Irish ie 'Celtic' stock. And like us Scots the Irish have a tradition of ripping the piss out of not only everyone, but ourselves. Out of the Americans that I've met, only a few of them can appreciate satire and irony - perhaps its a cultural thing in that most Americans take things too seriously (Christ some of the talkshows we get from you prove that beyond doubt)!
I remember the American comic Bill Hicks attacking censorship and ending the particular topic with the closing line, "Why are people so afraid of jokes?" Chocolate Cake is a great song, very funny, should not have been censored (hail Capital for allowing it to stay), and if those in the States are offended by it or just don't like it, simply set your CD player to start Woodface with Its Only Natural!
Don't bother us who have not had a humour bypass and actually like the song. We are not going to stop liking it because you find something that's offensive in it! Wink

PS. Its a belter of a song, though I don't think they went far enough in slagging Andrew Lloyd Webber!
wow, i don't even know what to say to that.. and while i've been thinking about all of the events and the friends i have in that area of the US, i come here to briefly escape the real world. they are RIGHT NOW announcing an arrest warrant for someone who the police want for questioning. sad times here people Frowner

Sorry Kate - I'll get on topic now. OK.. so as petty as this now sounds -- does anyone know who Kathy Straker is, and why "boy could she lose some weight"?
The BEST thing about CC is that I have ACTUALLY SEEN Elvis walk out of a 7-11!! Ok, so it was really an Elvis impersonator walking out of a 7-11 in Bakersfield, CA, but I almost wrecked my car!!! I'm talkin' full rhinestone jumpsuit, sideburns, and all! Hilarious! So the song holds a "special" place in my heart.

As for "the excess of fat on your American bones..." .....just take a look around. As a country, we're fat and lazy. Too much television.

Truth hurts......
Geddy, I'm not sure how you missed it, but likerain already answered your question:
Anyway - I had heard Neil say in an interview years and years ago that Kathy Straker was a made up name. didn't know if that Q had been A'd.
I don't have a weight problem, but let me just say that there is no such thing as too much TV -- particularly if you live in the middle of nowhere. I shudder to think what I'd do if my telly went bung (so to speak). Wink
The only thing that even slightly bugs me about the song is at the end, right before they sing "Can I have another piece of chocolate cake" and repeat that line till the end, you hear someone(I think it's Paul) warble: "Rocky Mountain High, Colorado".

I think I know what they are implying with that reference.
What one person might consider "hokey" another person might consider.....................refreshingly ernest!
Anyways, I always cringe when I hear that part, especially since I'm such a huge John Denver fan.

Don't mess with my man John Denver! He rules! Wink Razzer Big Grin
Yeah Kathy Straker is a fakie...hey I'm a Peter Green and I never get upset when they talk about the one who was kicke=d out of Fleetwood mac (: then again there could be a slightly overweight Kathy going around shouting and waving her arms "damn you Finns".!!!! From memory Tim thought up the name....
The John Denver part wasn't really a dig at JD
been many a time that the Finns and family have let loose a Denver song in the back seat of the hire car...especially near those Rocky Mountains believe me.....because it's in Chocolate Cake doesn't mean they are taking a shot....some of it is simply observation as mentioned....most of it is fun, and the odd person takes it a bit personally. One of my best friends hates the song because she is a tad overweight, she also hates "You're the one for me fatty" by Morrissey which is probably not as subtle......but really it's the inside that counts (and I don't mean the inside of the cake).
While I was reading all the responses, I started to think about the South Park movie song
"Blame Canada" that became a big part of the Oscars a few years ago with a full array of dancing girls and Robin Williams running around. At least the ribbing of things American was specific to a few lines, not the title of the song !! Razzer Razzer

It was really funny up here to see the reaction in the media up here of the movie and the song, and we sorta chuckled to ourselves saying "What's the point of getting mad ??", that wouldn't do anything. Even our beloved Anne Murray thought it was funny when she was referred to as a "b**ch". That was the really ironic part. I guess us in the neglected Great White North are used to being poked fun at, so it sorta just drips off us like water on a duck.

Back to Chocolate Cake, it's a good song and good fun for the overindulgent times that were the late 80's/early 90's, but maybe not the best way to attract fans in the biggest English speaking music market. (Stating the obvious again, I know.) Wink
Originally posted by gryphon:
[qb]One of my best friends hates the song because she is a tad overweight, [/qb]
Peter - you hit the nail on the head for me!!!! I love the song, but the phrase "excess of fat on your American Bones" makes me think Neil is singing to me, as I could stand to lose a few lbs! So my cringing at that one lyric is purely self-referential, but the rest of the song cracks me up!

Other than that, I do not like Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicals, I am embarrased for Tammy Faye and I am mortified by the creeping amass of crass commercialism in America, so the song is hysterical to me. And I work for a company that produces Broadway shows, I am from the South like the Bakers and I work in marketing, so if I can laugh at the song, anyone can!

BTW, it's my husband's favorite video and song by CH - and he's not a huge fan of CH. He does appreciate biting satire, though....
Struggling to say something positive about have been the standout track on Afterglow had it never been released on Woodface. Oh yeah, and (as often is the case with Finn songs I don't like), I think the middle-eight is really cool.

Should never have been a single in territories that they didn't already command.

I don't even hate it. I just don't care for it, which is sort of worse. Had a sniff of excessive pride about it, as if they thought it was the cat's whiskers.

And I tend to agree that, lyrically, it was pprobably a couple of years too late to work in the US.

For those who are pro-CC, do you include it as one of the songs to introduce non-fans to the band? Curious.
my comments on CC are as follows. I'd like to echo Mitchell Froom's remarks, in that as a *record* it's a really really great track, as a song, i'm not too sure. The lyrics are a tad dodgy personally. I love the production. The lyrics tho, i'm not too fond of. I'm not gonna question now, 11 years after, whether choosing it as the lead single over any of the other tunes was a mistake, If the record had exploded in the states, we may not have had something as cool as TA (which would mean i've never have got into the crowdies!). At the same time, I'm still concentrating on making FINN a cult record in Ireland! Typical paradoxical me! Back to CC, it is however, a great track to play getting ready for going out, or getting up on a saturday morning.
Originally posted by John:
[qb]For those who are pro-CC, do you include it as one of the songs to introduce non-fans to the band? Curious.[/qb]
I love CC. It's a catchy as hell Split Enz-ed flavoured like song. I'd even included in the best of Recurring Dream album, in the place of I Feel Possessed &/or World Where You Live. A bloke who used to tease me in high school in the early 90's sang me CC's chorus when he found out that I was an endangered & rare specimen who loved Crowded House, in the place of Nirvana or Mini Vanilli or NKOTB or whoever else was famous @ the time ... So there you go ... & the bloke was smart as hell top of the class Anglo Australian 2... Big Grin Razzer
Good song? Not sure. Prophetic? Yes. It's now en vogue to bash Americans. Much as I'm ashamed to say it has become a National past time in parts of Canada, as well as other parts of the world. Doesn't make me particularly proud. Most Americans are decent people that I've met, they're good neighbours to have and generous to a fault. Sure, they have their problems but who doesn't?
excess of fat on your American Bones

This is definitely the only problem line in the song for me... and it's not that big of a deal, I still love the song, and listen to it frequently.

The reason this line does bug me a little, is because although I know 100% the Finns didn't mean it, it still sounds like it says "ALL Americans" are over consumers. Moreover, since the lyrics are so good, they paint that sentiment in a very awful grotesque way. I do feel included in that line, but I'm not even close. If the line had been phrased in a way that it implied some Americans, I would have no problem at all...

It's like I recently went to England, and the repetitive question always asked... "How could YOU Americans vote for George Bush" to which I would reply... "I don't know, I didn't vote for him, nor did 240 million other Americans, and nor did the 10 million illegal aliens living in America."

So that's 5 times the entire population of England that didn't vote for George Bush.

Maybe I'm too sensitive here. But to an extent, I think people of all nationalities don't like to get lumped into stereotypical categories. Look at all the fallout that is happening in America when any public official or entertainer says anything stereotypical or derogatory about a particular group... Good chance they lose their job.

Canuckian... just got back from the great white North eh, fly fished, sailed, and was shown a great time... The ironic thing about the en vogue bashing in Canada, is that any Canadian with a certain view will probably find more compatriots in the United States with a similar view than in Canada just due to the fact that Canada's population is 10% of the United States.
OK I'm English so I don't find Chocalate Cake offensive but I certainly don't find it funny. There's very few songs that make me smile (one of them is Pulp's 'Common People'. That line 'Well I don't see anyone else smiling' always cracks me up. But then I also think Jarvis Cocker is a demi-God just for flashing his naked ass at Michael Jackson).

I actually find CC irritating and I never listen to it. It has to be my least favourite CH songs.
Sorry Strum,

about us Poms asking you how Bush got elected. I know it must be an annoying question but I can't work it out either and I'm afraid its a question I ask my American freinds. I don't mean to be rude but Bush is so dumb. He makes Ronald Reagan look like a world reknown intellectual by comparison. And what makes it even worse was that Blair followed him into war!

Sorry about the non-topic wonderings from CC but I expect Neil Fiin would approve of a bit of Bush battering. I wonder if he mentions the Iraq war on the tour. Neil says the Dixie Chicks stance on Iraq was one of the reasons he wrote 'Silent House' with them.


Originally posted by Flower Singing Man:
OK I'm English so I don't find Chocalate Cake offensive but I certainly don't find it funny. There's very few songs that make me smile (one of them is Pulp's 'Common People'. That line 'Well I don't see anyone else smiling' always cracks me up. But then I also think Jarvis Cocker is a demi-God just for flashing his naked ass at Michael Jackson).

I actually find CC irritating and I never listen to it. It has to be my least favourite CH songs.

I concur on your above-mentioned points.

Let's review:

  • Chocolate Cake is neither offensive, nor funny
  • Jarvis Cocker is a demi-God
  • Chocolate Cake is irritating and my least fave song. After Tall Trees, that is
Im an american and I LOVE chocolate cake! The song seems to be a metaphor for all that was/is wrong here and as for Tammy Baker.....I felt bad seeing her in her last days,she was really suffering and I hate thinking about ANYONE going out like that.

I have alot of respect for america's highest office and very little respect for any that have held it.

Two cents.
I've never found the song to be offensive. I remember the first time I ever heard it I was laughing out loud in my car at the lyrics. Big Grin Sure, not all of America is greedy and self-indulgent, but every time I turn on the tv or read the paper I am shown examples of that sort of mentality.

As far as live performances of Chocolate Cake, it's shown up pretty frequently in Tim's shows I've been to in the last couple years. Around election time he changed lyrics to "Barack Obama's got a lot on his plate". Also had a mid-song comment to Brett at one of the shows along the lines of "we're past the hard part of the song now...there's a lot of words to remember there!"

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