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.