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Let me lay out the conditions that I know will entice

Peaches1

The other day, a friend of mine challenged my claim that Peaches is brilliant. This launched us into a debate on her lyrical soundness in comparison to other artists who are characterized by sexual explicitness and why her raunchiness is different than theirs. We bounced around a few choice lyrics and ended upon "Azz and Tittiez" by Three Six Mafia, a song whose refrain slurs those three words along with the pejorative-packed "big booty bitches". Would I appreciate those lyrics more coming from Peaches? You're damn right. Lyrics, though, are just part of the Peaches puzzle, lending themselves to her progressiveness above and beyond their similarities to other hip-hop/electro/dance-pop groups. Her brilliance comes through in her live show.

In some respects, Peaches isn't all that different from other MCs, at least the generalized version of them. She has an entourage on stage, she spits the rhymes that get you dancing and she promises at the very least to Fuck You Like A Billionaire (the title of one the songs on her new album). In reality, Peaches is unlike anyone else. Peaches played Tuesday night at the Wonder Ballroom in Portland for almost an hour and a half. Her current tour is to promote her latest album "I Feel Cream", released May 4. Her band, Sweet Machine, was not screwing around when they chose their name. They took the stage in fractaled, reflective outfits with matching dominatrix-style hoods. They play glow in the dark keytars and wear leather thigh-highs. Fashion is an integral part of Peaches' stage persona. Among so many costume changes I lost count were feathers, chains, leotards and capes. And the props! Oh sweet lord the props. A microphone cord doubled as a leash. A microphone doubled as a penis. Peaches wore a jock strap-style piece with a strobe light as a clit. The crowd was a fiery ball of adrenaline, fueled by being doused in water, spit at with fake blood and sweat on by Peaches and each other.

 

  

And yes, her songs are about titties, sex with whoever whenever and even the ridiculous shocker. But she is revolutionary for their connotations. When she broke into "Boys Wanna Be Her", not one person in my line of vision wasn't singing along in what felt like a musical mutual understanding that shit yes, we do want to be her. She defies conventionality, doesn't tone down her masculinity or doll herself or her music up (although, in terms of musicianship, they're amazing). She disseminates the definitions of gender and sexuality and operates under the assumption that we're all sexual beings. If she were to say "big booty bitches" in one of her songs, she might be talking about men. 

So in the quest to define Peaches' importance, relevance or smarts, her live show is exhibit A.

Exhibit B- some of her fans:

I rest my case.  

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Comments

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Peaches

So. I just wanted to let you know that this wasn't really convincing at all. Exhibit B makes me wonder if this whole post was just an ironic joke (is it). Your post addresses none of the actual concerns about the "teaches of peaches."

First of all, I have to say I enjoy Peaches as an artist, but to say that there aren't potential myriad problems with her presentation is intellectually dishonest.

One concern is the appropriation Peaches does in her work. This is a white woman taking over and remaking a black art and presenting it to a majority white audience.

Another concern is an artistic appropriation of sexual sleaziness. It leaves the viewer wondering if she's making fun of it, empowering it? It is not clear, and in the context of sex-work and a healthy sexuality it's easy to see why this would be problematic.

The selling of sex is always problematic, and it is more so when it is essentially a middle-class hipster selling faux sex. Peaches "sells" sex in the most blasé of ways, while poor sex workers are forced to sell sex brutally.

I'm not saying that these are non-refutable facts that render her a bad artist. But to not address these ideas in a defense of her is misleading.

What "black art" is she

What "black art" is she taking over exactly? If you're talking about rapping, I think mainstream black rap artists are presenting it to a "majority white audience" just as much if not more than Peaches.
She doesn't even really rap that much anyway. It's not like she's Led Zeppelin stealing Muddy Waters' songs.

I wondered about this ("black art") as well

After a friend first played Peaches for me, I was curious as to how her music was categorized.

Wiki calls it: Electroclash, dance punk, synthpunk, electronica

Her MySpace page: electro/rock/hip hop

Anyway, here's Miss Piggy singing one of my favorite Peaches songs:

Why is Peaches so great, indeed?

A comparison that is perhaps more challenging might be between Peaches and Lady Gaga. Three Six Mafia is dirty alright, but in a pretty straightforward boys want girls kind of way. It's like comparing apples to oranges...or strap-ons to penises, in this case.
I feel like Lady Gaga sells sex in a way that is far more problematic, although the two ladies probably look pretty similar from a distance as viewed by someone not familar with either. Their music might also seem similar from a distance, but on Lady Gaga the hypersexuality and flashy stage costumes just manage to ring hollow. Anybody else feeling that?

I see what you're saying

However, I was not out to analyze her shortfalls, I was out to prove why she is different and why that is a good thing. It is a review of her live show, therefore the folks who gave me permission to post their picture are definitely not there as an ironic joke, they're there to show Peaches' relevance and importance. While the point of this piece was to talk about her show, I just included the part about the discussion with my friend because a lot of people I know who don't understand Peaches compare artists similar to Three Six Mafia with her in an attempt to tell me she's not much different. This is by far not a piece analyzing all the good and all the bad, but I will say despite what you find problematic with Peaches, she is still empowering and doing a lot to redefine gender and sexuality. That's the main difference, and the best part, about Peaches in my opinion. But I never said she was infallible. I think at times her explicitness is serious and other times it is tongue and cheek about the commodification of sex. I think she both empowers and provides commentary.

As far as Lady Gaga is concerned, I agree that her stage presence is not as compelling as Peaches'. I did hear someone at the show say, "What is the difference between her and Lady Gaga?", which got me thinking...but I suppose that's a completely different post.

Just to clarify...

...although I realize it's not all about me, my comments were intended to indicate that I'm only peripherally into Peaches' music and would probably never go to a live show, but still sense that what she does is great.
I see her as profoundly different than male artists like Three Six Mafia and different than even seemingly more similar female artisits like Lady Gaga. I think a Lady Gaga/Peaches head-to-head would illustrate some of the finer points of Peaches greatness, but I have no expectation that you should take it on. It's your blog, dude.
The pictures from the live show are great.

Thanks!

I'm with you, though. I think Lady Gaga vs. Peaches is fascinating. I was saying perhaps I'll compare the two in the future! You got me a-thinkin'. :)

Three6Mafia

Three6Mafia_ of the very style and genre Peaches aims to subvert. Where's the comparison? What make Peaches different is what make three6mafia more of the same old misogynistic guff.

I'm Feeling Creamy

Just to let you know, I am making these comments as a mid-20's black womanist heterosexual ally female whose musical tastes run from classic rock n roll to deep house to (I can't help it) Three 6 Mafia...

1. Peaches is the SHIT yo! I'm going to her concert here in LA tomorrow night - the fulfillment of 8 years of dreaming! I loooove her because she defines her sexuality for HERSELF first and foremost. Not in relation to society, not in relation to what men think is sexy, and not in relation to what women think is sexy. And THAT'S sexy! From the little I've absorbed of Lady Gaga, that little girl doesn't even compare to Peaches. She's not even in the same league. She's prepackaged pop, and there's nothing brilliant about that. Peaches is brilliant.

2. I can tell that most of those who criticize Peaches either haven't understood her albums (I have all 4, and they're so lyrically consistent) or are not into super-sexuality in that manner people. Which is okay. But I thought that it was clear that Peaches is all about turning gender and sexuality norms on their head, not for the sake of shock, but because that's what she loves to do. I can't detect anything insincere about her.

3. I can't wait for the concert! Yessssss!

i'd rather listen to HWA

Az Much Ass Azz U Want is lyrically brilliant.