Four albums in, Peaches is still successfully freaking out squares
It took me four albums, but I finally got the joke. Or, rather, I got that I am the joke. Of Peaches’ many target demographics, only one group can lay claim to being an actual target: squares. More specifically, vanilla hetero squares who hem and haw like Hank Hill whenever a young lady uses coarse language in mixed company. It’s my demographic, and Peaches has mercilessly taunted, berated, rapped at and double-dutch ridiculed us for years. Don’t get me wrong—I like the attention, even if I’m not always comfortable with the attention. Here’s how I rank my own reactions to the tutelage of Peaches.
1. AT EASE.
It’s a difficult trick to let one’s guard down while listening to a Peaches CD. But there is one track where this is entirely possible—the sci-fi spooky “Felix Partz,” a coda to her blockbuster breakout full-length The Teaches of Peaches. It may or may not be a coincidence that this is an instrumental.
2. WILLFULLY NAIVE.
Three tracks into this year’s I Feel Cream, there’s “Lose You,” an incongruously sweet disco tune with breathy vocals and an ethereal vulnerability. I spent a few days driving around and listening to this song on repeat, which seemed like harmless fun. But I am aware that the lines “tossing and turning/your insides are burning” could have a very sinister subtext.
Occasionally, I get the joke. Ergo, I’m in on the joke. Even when I don’t totally get the joke. But 2003’s “I Don’t Give a Fuck” just seems like a dumb prank (and not one at my expense), sounding more like a 9-year-old boy having a juice-box-fueled temper tantrum than a song recorded by an actual adult woman.
When I first heard “Shake Yer Dix,” I actually laughed out loud at the line “you make my panties go ping.” But five lines later came the cryptic “I know you all like to hotbox,” which I had to look up, leaving me confused if she meant the dirty verb or the dirty noun used as a verb. Either way, whenever I hear this one with other people around, I just nod my head agreeably like Bill Murray in Lost In Translation.
Something in “Tent In Your Pants” apparently “hurts so good” that Peaches has a “soregasm.” Is that, like, a real thing?
In “Fuck the Pain Away”—from the blockbuster breakout LP—there’s that weird plea to “check out my Chrissy behind.” I’ve always guessed it was a Pretenders reference, though that seems a tad too obvious now. It could just as easily allude to something totally filthy that only people much cooler than I know about. I’d look this up online as well, but I feel like I lucked out with “hotbox,” and any further queries could get my computer all virused-up.
In the middle of the mutual backslapping frenzy of “Kick It”—Peaches’ ’03 duet with Iggy Pop—there’s that line about her crotch having “fuzzy spots.” It’s not a particularly scandalous bit of wordplay, until hours or days later when all I can think about is the mechanics of bikini-zone alopecia which, sorry, is kind of icky.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
The video for “Tombstone, Baby” features some PG-13 violence against women that is less raunchy than demoralizing, reminding me, in terms of letdown, of that point in the late ’90s when Sandra Bernhard abruptly stopped being funny.
9. DEEPLY DISTURBED.
On “Slippery Dicks,” there’s a laundry list of obscure sex acts (54, by my count) that makes me feel as unworldly as a first-grader. I understand “feed the clam.” But what is “ficky fick,” “shrimp pleaser,” “wind jammer” and “bucket boy”? I’m a grown-up; should I know what these things mean?
10. DEEPLY, DEEPLY DISTURBED.
Then there’s the video for “My Dumps,” a parody of a parody of a song that didn’t take itself too seriously to begin with. Young lassies grind in stained undies while Peaches croons about all things scat. It’s beyond meta, beyond fourth-generation feminism, beyond NC-17, far, far into the realms of the emotional shitzkrieg. In four minutes, she packs in coprophilia, coprophagia, menophilia and the “Cleveland steamer.” There may be more than this; I’m not sure. At a certain point, I stopped looking up definitions, unplugged my computer and forced myself to watch a Disney cartoon.
Peaches with Men at the Glass House, 200 W. Second St., Pomona, (909) 865-3802; www.theglasshouse.us. Mon., 8 p.m. $20. All ages.