Fatherfucker is not a CD you’ll often want to hear, but you probably haven’t heard many like it. Peaches, the woman behind this electro mayhem, distorts gender and challenges our conceptions of what women should sing about. And with her bushy Abe Lincoln beard, about how they should even look on their record covers.
But to understand Peaches musically is really not difficult. She takes bits and pieces from rock, electronica and hip-hop, and mixes them with a brazen, no-holds-barred sexuality. The result is song titles like “I Don’t Give A” and “Shake Yer Dix,” and lyrics to match. The trouble is, the music is all style over substance—many of the short songs on Fatherfucker are built up over remarkably simple, monotonous electro beats. The most successful electronic song is “The Inch,” which aspires to, but doesn’t quite reach, Fischerspooner’s melodic artistry.
Peaches almost redeems herself when she relies more on raw, distorted guitar-fueled rock in “Kick It,” a blistering duet with Iggy Pop, or opener “I Dont Give A” (where Peaches screams profanities over an adaptation of Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation”).
It’s obvious that Peaches is more concerned with the concept of the liberated female sexuality that she embodies than the music she makes. Still, there are those people who look on Peaches as nothing less than a revolution: The University of Toronto’s Queer Studies program includes her lyrics as part of the course curriculum. But one must see the depth in “I’m the kind of bitch that you want to get with” repeated ad nauseam. —Daniel M. S. Raper
Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros
When punk-rock legend Joe Strummer died of a heart attack last December at the age of 50, the music world let out a collective cry. Streetcore, Strummer’s unfinished finale, was left to his band the Mescaleros to piece together. Although the album does not match the classic songwriting he displayed with Mick Jones over twenty years ago on The Clash and London Calling, Streetcore is an enjoyable tribute to Strummer’s unforgettable career, passionate and rough around the edges.
While Strummer seems to have mellowed since punk’s heyday, Streetcore remains, at heart, not all that different from anything The Clash released. He continues to struggle with themes of social responsibility and equality. And the combination of folk, reggae and punk that permeates the album can be traced all the way back to “Police and Thieves.”
Illusions to Strummer’s past abound. “Arms Aloft in Aberdeen” recalls his days with The Clash when he asks, “May I remind you of that scene?” “Midnight Jam” features vocal samples echoing the words “this is London calling.” “Burnin’ Streets” poignantly chants “London is burning,” but trades the raucous and youthful frustration of “London’s Burning” for a sedated sorrow. The result sounds more mature, but only half as enticing.
In between the rousing power-pop of “Coma Girl” and “All in a Day” lilts the touching ballad “Long Shadow.” Though written for Johnny Cash, the lyrics easily fit Strummer’s own life when he concludes, “somewhere in my soul / there’s always rock and roll.” Like Cash, Strummer will live on forever in his rightful place as a rock and roll icon.
—Sarah L. Solorzano