Candy Everybody Wants

Album: Our Time in Eden (1992)
Charted: 47 67

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about how the media - specifically television - panders to our base instincts by supplying a constant stream of sex and violence:

    If lust and hate is the candy
    If blood and love tastes so sweet
    Then we give 'em what they want


    The "candy" is the images that keep us watching - it's not good for us, but hard to resist.

    The lyric was written by lead singer Natalie Merchant, and it's particularly incisive:

    So their eyes are growing hazy
    'Cause they want to turn it on
    So their minds are soft and lazy
    Well, hey, give 'em what they want
  • The music was written by 10,000 Maniacs keyboard player Dennis Drew. The group would often come up with chipper tunes to go with Merchant's cogent lyrics, wrapping her message in a sweet (like candy?) melody.

    Merchant was particularly amused when this song started climbing the charts, as it is a song about media manipulation with a message that clearly wasn't getting through to many listeners.

    "The song is complete satire," she told Rolling Stone. "They're not typical pop lyrics, and it's very subversive."
  • When 10,000 Maniacs recorded the Our Time in Eden album, they knew Merchant was leaving the band. Not wanting to leave them in the lurch, she stayed on for a year, keeping the news quiet so there wouldn't be any sort of farewell tour or formal sendoff.

    In our interview with their bass player Steven Gustafson, he said: "We all knew Natalie was leaving during the recording of Our Time In Eden, and in some respects, it made for quite an enjoyable experience for all of us. It was freeing in a good way. Producer Paul Fox had a lot to do with that as well.

    I think this song was about the state of pop culture and how we were becoming part of it.?We made quite a climb from being thrown out of our first gig to playing Madison Square Garden, our final performance with her as our lead singer."
  • The music video was directed by Jeffrey Plansker, a fitting choice because he worked in advertising. The clip is filled with a barrage of images in the style of manipulative ad campaigns. As is the case for most of the band's videos, Merchant is smiling throughout her performance.
  • Natalie Merchant steadfastly refused to market her sexuality, despite pleas from the band's record company for her to wear more form-fitting outfits. She refused to give them what they want.

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