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Viva! La Woman

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Album Review

Fresh and funky, female and Japanese, the trip-hop/rap duo Cibo Matto has been the recipient of a lot of hype. Fortunately, it's well-founded; all trendiness aside, Viva! La Woman is an innovative and catchy mix of eclectic samples and stream-of-consciousness lyrics. The likes of Paul Weller, Ennio Morricone, and Duke Ellington combine with observations like "My weight is three hundred pounds/My favorite is beef jerky" (from "Beef Jerky") and "Shut up and eat! You know my love is sweet!" from ("Birthday Cake") in a fun and refreshing way. The tone of the album varies with each song; on tracks like "Sugar Water" and "Artichoke," Cibo Matto plays it spooky and ethereal, while "Birthday Cake" and the single "Know Your Chicken" find them as a couple of cryptic Beastie Girls, tossing off wacky non sequiturs over found soundscapes. Cibo Matto cooks up a tasty appetizer of their talent with Viva! La Woman. Like their tongue-in-cheek cover of "The Candy Man," Cibo Matto makes everything they bake satisfying and delicious. A diverse and entertaining album, Viva! La Woman leaves the listener hungry for more of their crazy food for thought.

Customer Reviews

This album is the "alterntive" to alternative music.

Pure Indie music by heart, Viva La Woman is one of the great albums of the 1990's. What Cibo Matto brought to the growing alternative scene was a sound that wasn't afraid to expand into new realms. It broke barriers and stayed with the true heart and spirit of alternative music while refusing to conform to the popular mainstream that the genre was growing into. Viva La Woman was experimental and alive and just what was needed to push the growth of the music from the 90's. Probably the most unlikely of success stories, Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori formed Cibo Matto. Two Japanese girls in New York singing in English, who would have thought? But make no mistake. This isn't J-pop by any means. While many Japanese music fans (like myself) will love Cibo Matto, this band was like no other. I choose to call them genre bending in that they can't be categorized. Viva La Woman's strength is in the duo's ability to play off of one another's strengths. Miho Hatori's vocals are melodic at times and loud and abrassive at others. Yuka Honda's sampling and producing only compliments Miho's talent. As I have understood it, the reason for the food theme for this album comes from Miho's lack of understanding English at the time of the recording. She couldn't speak it fluently but she wanted the album to be in English. She used her love of food to help her learn to speak and pronounce words in English and also how to sing in the language. The results are a fun and lively mix of songs that will leave you clamoring for more. This is a fantastic album and I strongly recommend to anyone interested in the Indie scene. While Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori's solo stuff is outstanding as is Cibo Matto's next album "Stereotype A" this is the one that started it all. It's just a shame that the full album isn't available through iTunes. If you have the means, get the full album. If not, get it here. You'll love it.

Abstract Album

To compare this album to Stereotype A, the band's second album, would be a mistake because they are both so completely different from one another. Both are abstract, but this one definitely borders on insanity. The ENTIRE album is open to interpretation. But there's something strangely soothing about the weirdness embeded in this album and there's no doubt that Cibo Matto really tried to do something different with this cd. And what I truly enjoy about Viva! La Woman is that the album is what you make it. It's entirely yours to understand. So while I do prefer Stereotype A to Viva! La Woman, I would still recommend this cd to any Cibo Matto fan or fan of abstract, "open to interpretation" music. However, if you're neither a hard core fan nor a lover of different music, I recommend at least walking away with "Sugar Water" (definitely) and maybe (If you're feeling daring) "White Pepper Ice Cream" and "The Candy Man."

Lovely. Simple and brilliant.

Any indie or trip-hop fan needs this album. I wasn't too big on it at first, but that's probably because I was 14 when I got my grubby lil paws on it. It's a well-produced work of art, that should be in any 90s fan's music library. And the long track, "Theme", is simply amazing, one of the best tracks on here, and it should not be ignored. Don't think twice, buy it.


Formed: 1994 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A Japanese-born duo relocated to New York and christened with an Italian band name, Cibo Matto's music mirrored the melting-pot aesthetics of their origins, resulting in a heady brew of funk samples, hip-hop rhythms, tape loops, and fractured pop melodies all topped off by surreal narratives sung in a combination of French and broken English. Cibo Matto comprised vocalist Miho Hatori and keyboardist/sampler Yuka Honda, a pair of expatriate Japanese women who arrived in the U.S. independently. Honda,...
Full Bio
Viva! La Woman, Cibo Matto
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Customer Ratings