Monday, August 22, 2011
Peaches -The Teaches of Peaches
Besides being a music buff I consider myself a movie aficionado. Despite my age I have easily seen over 3,000 different films (at least that I can remember) and love when two of my favorite pastimes come together: music in film. In the past I wrote a music review for the Get Him to the Greek soundtrack and had a blast composing it. There’s something about a well-composed soundtrack filled from beginning to end with great songs. Whether they are all original compositions (Get Him To The Greek, Walk Hard, The Rocker) or just great music put together to create an iconic soundtrack (Dazed and Confused, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Purple Rain), good music will only enhance your movie.
Recently I found myself hanging out with some of my hipster friends and we discussed this year’s Sunset Junction lineup which featured Art Brut, The Belle Brigade, Butthole Surfers, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Dum Dum Girls, Hanson, Helmet, Melvins, Rooney, The Soft Pack, Tapes ‘n Tapes and a DJ set by Peaches. Peaches is who I want to talk about. At first when her name was mentioned I had a puzzled face, but when my friend Adam reminded me of her music I was “NO WAY!” and was “beyond stoked” to see her.
Peaches’ music has been featured in such films as Drive Angry, Jackass 2, Lost in Translation, and Mean Girls. Drive Angry, Jackass 2 and Lost in Translation are my main motivation why I’m writing this review now. All three films feature my favorite Peaches’ song, “Fuck the Pain Away” and after recently randomly watching those films over the past month I’ve decided to discuss the greatness that is Peaches.
Peaches originally performed under her real name Merrill Nisker until she decided to obtain a stage name, which started with the release of her full-length debut album The Teaches of Peaches. The original edition of The Teaches of Peaches was released in 2000 by German record label Kitty-Yo and contains only 11 songs. The expanded 2002 edition, released by independent record label XL Recordings, contains 17 songs and two versions of the music video “Set It Off,” which is the one I shall be reviewing and is the one available on iTunes.
Peaches’ electroclash music, a genre combined of new wave and electronic, perfectly accompanies her unique voice and views. Most of Peaches’ songs are extremely sexually suggestive and deal with many post-feminism themes. What I like about her is she sings what she wants and doesn’t give a damn what anybody thinks. Peaches produces great danceable music, so shut up, listen and enjoy the party.
The Teaches of Peaches kicks off with “Fuck the Pain Away.” Most young males will instantly recognize this song since it was featured prominently in Jackass 2, when Johnny Knoxville plays the old man character Irving and he sings along to “Fuck the Pain Away.” The amazing and astonishing lyrics are what I love most about this song. Any song that mention Debbie Harry (Calling me, all the time like Blondie) and Chrissy Hynde (Check out my Chrissy behind) within the first few lines is awesome in my book.
Her breakthrough song not only instantly grabs your attention, but it’s something immensely catchy you can’t help but sing along to. Over the past two weeks I have probably listened and sung along to the song over 20 times and that’s a testament to how good the song truly is even after all those listens.
"Fuck the Pain Away" was listed by Q Magazine at #826 as one of 1001 Best Songs Ever and another interesting fact is there is no official music video of “Fuck the Pain Away” except for fan-made music videos. If you have a chance, I strongly recommend checking them out besides live concert footage of Peaches performing her classic composition.
The lo-fi beat and electro bassline in “AA XXX” is a perfect example of what great electronic music should sound like for people being introduced to the genre for the first time. Most of my friends not affiliated with music and those that only listen to one genre of music generally dislike electronic, electronica, house music and dance. However, when I’ve played “AA XXX” they are mesmerized and don’t know why they love it, but I do. They are listening to someone sing over a sweet bassline and it’s not just “loud random blaring boo boo beeps” (A friend said that, not me).
“Rock Show” is the third single from The Teaches of Peaches and Peaches’ vocals sounds similar to Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill probably because of the riot grrrl punk rock sound. This song feels more like an alternative song rather than an electroclash song. The drums and beats send this song over the top. The second single off the album is “Set It Off” and is probably the second best song on this album. Her voice is very soothing and sensual to create an instant electroclash classic.
“Cum Undun,” “Diddle My Skittle,” and “Hot Rod” utilize synthesizers and mixing to the max. These three songs are followed up by the first single, “Lovertits,” an almost throwback beat blasting with killer boombastic sounds. If you think the song is suggestive, wait until you see the even more suggestive music video featuring friend and fellow singer Feist as one of women riding a bicycle.
“Suck and Let Go” is more electronic sound with barely any vocals, “Sucker” has that alternative/ riot grrrl punk rock band sound and “Felix Partz” is pure electronic with no vocals. On the bonus disc, there are six songs: “Keine Melodien,” “Casanova,” “Sex (I'm A),” “Felix Partz (Remake),” “Fuck The Pain Away (Kid606 Going Back To Bali Remix)” and “Set It Off (Radio/Tobi Neuman Mix).” Super sexy Peaches delivers a killer album filled with goodies.
As a heads up, most of her official music videos are done to create a retro and vintage feel, whereas the fan-made videos have everyone from Miss Piggy to Jean Claude Van Damme to Andy Griffith being featured. The Jackass 2 clips featuring “Fuck the Pain Away” are priceless as well!
For those interested in other artists who sound like Peaches I recommend checking out Chicks on Speed, Le Tigre, Robots in Disguise, M.I.A. and Amanda Blank.