The English Cheddar Man, a.k.a. Elton John
The English Cheddar Man, a.k.a. Elton John
Elton John AIDS Foundation

Musical Food Groups

You often hear that certain music is "cheesy." That's all well and good, but what kind of cheesy? Is it hard cheesy or runny cheesy? Processed or organic? Is the cheesy music in question more akin to Fontina Val D'Osta or plain old Velveeta?

Wack aims to answer those questions and more with this, the first ever Guide to Musical Cheese. You probably already know what wine to serve -- now you'll know your playlist, too.

Cheese Type: Asiago


Musical food groups

Properties: Mild when young; gets nuttier as it ages.

Musical Equivalents: Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Tori Amos

Cheese Type: Brie

Properties: Creamy texture, buttery taste. Melts at room temperature.

Musical Equivalents: Barry Manilow and Barry White

Cheese Type: Feta

Properties: Salty and pickled.

Musical Equivalents: Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr.

Cheese Type: Havarti

Properties: Buttery, mild, Scandinavian

Musical Equivalents: ABBA, Ace of Base

Cheese Type: Processed French, like Laughing Cow

Properties: As above, but whiter

Musical Equivalents: Cline Dion, Andr Rieu

Cheese Type: Swiss

Properties: Taste ranges from mild to sharp, most notable for its many holes.

Musical Equivalents: 50 Cent

Cheese Type: Processed, such as Velveeta, American cheese, "government cheese," Cheez Whiz

Properties: Day-glo yellow color, rubbery, melts easily, gooey, inorganic, often served on white bread. No nutritional value whatsoever.

Musical Equivalents: Kenny G, John Tesh, Michael Bolton, James Ingram, Styx, Peabo Bryson, Luther Vandross, Peter Cetera, Barbra Streisand, Amy Grant, Meat Loaf, post-2000 Rod Stewart and Vanilla Ice.

Cheese Type: American Cheddar

Properties: Taste ranges from bland to extra sharp. Often served on white bread. Can range from boring to quite tasty. Just as it dominates the cheese section of most generic supermarkets, so it dominates your terrestrial radio's shelf space.

Musical Equivalents:

Mild, bland cheddars include the Carpenters, Lionel Richie, Bon Jovi, Maroon 5, Boston, Dave Matthews, Huey Lewis and Lenny Kravitz.

Medium cheddars include the Eagles, Sheryl Crow, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jackson Browne, Foreigner, the Wallflowers, Pearl Jam, James Taylor, Journey and John Mayer.

Extra sharp cheddars include Kelly Clarkson, Doobie Brothers/Michael McDonald, Captain and Tennille, Hall and Oates and Billy Joel. (Most "yacht rock" is extra sharp cheddar.)

Cheese Type: Canadian cheddar. (Yes, there is such a thing. Ontario cheesemakers once made an 11-ton block of it called The Mammoth Cheese.)

Properties: Identical to American, but is more sarcastic, talks a bit funny and has a maple leaf on its backpack.

Musical Equivalents: Bryan Adams, whose collected musical output is very much like an 11-ton block of (extra mild) cheddar. (Australian cheddar also exists; it is exemplified by Olivia Newton-John. Air Supply is Aussie processed cheez.)

Cheese Type: English cheddar

Properties: Generally more flavorful than American; occasional streaks of tasty mold.

Musical Equivalents: Paul McCartney/Wings, Leo Sayer, the Bee Gees, Eric Clapton, Bad Company, Genesis/Phil Collins, Elton John, Peter Gabriel, Steve Winwood, Sting, the Rod Stewart of 19751982.


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