Friday, 23 May 2008

'Peaches' by The Presidents of the United States of America - The Marxist Interpretation

The self-titled album from The Presidents of the United States of America is bloody brilliant, mostly nonsensical and completely fun. Which is something that too many bands forget. And they even proper amazing pop tunes. Like it sounds like a greatest hits album or a covers album - seriously, that good. The really rather long piece quoted below is, as this post's title suggests (well, explicitally states...), an interpretation of album highlight 'Peaches', a song with the refrain "Millions of peaches, peaches for me, millions of peaches, peaches for free." Most interpretations of the song are either of the 'it's just words that sound quite funny' type or the 'it's innuendo' type. Being innocent and naive, I'd assumed the former. Then I heard about this. It's from SongMeanings.net's entry on the song, where one user contributed this analysis. S/He doesn't know who wrote it originally, and so neither do I. One might almost describe it as mythical. It's that good.

If you can't be bothered to read the whole thing, the basic point is: man flees evil capitalist city, where the peaches are tinned and polluted and horrible and EVIL, for the socialist countryside, where the peaches are free and lovely and amazing. But do at least skim it, it's just interesting.

Here's the song, then the analysis:

mp3: [mp3 removed]
(from The Presidents of the United States of America)

"The Marxist Interpretation of Peaches


Before you lauch into this there's something I have to clarify. Just because I say the Presidents are singing about Communism. Doesn't mean that I want Communism. If I said that a certain president's speach last night was about expanding the governemnts role in our lives wouldn't indicate that I agreed with him. I never agree with him. We should have elected the Dole Man, not the guy China paid money for. Many people think "Peaches" is the weirdest song ever written, others think its lame. Both with good reason because it appears to be a pointless rambling of a band who drank a little too much spiked fruitopia. I admit it doesn't seem all that sensible, but if you listen to it enough and ask yourself why anybody would write such a blatantly pointless song. Well the only logical answer is that it isn't blatantly pointless. Just bear with me here. You may just see the hidden meanings. Those of you who hate a deep analysis please link back to my homepage now. If you know the lyrics feel free to hop down to the analysis. I'd like to thank an unknown guy from kings.k12.ca.us who probably found the page while at school and pointed out a lyrics blunder. Basically the lyrics I have here I scrawled down while listning to the tune. I'm sorry for any flubs.

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"Peaches" is a song discussing the coming of socialism and warning that the revolution shouldn't occur at this exact moment but its coming. The Presidents of the United States of America make repeated reference to the oppression of the capitalistic world and their desires to leave it far be hind. Verses espousing communism are quite prevalent to the end with scattered warnings not to both the revolutionaries and the establishment. In order to escape the capitalistic decay of the city they are moving to the country as indicated by the first stanza. This is repeated like a chorus and contains a double meaning, both with socialistic implications. The most apparent is that the narrator is moving away from the smog of industry to what American's call the country, a rural unindustrialized community with a low population and a high sense of community bonding. The people are geographically more distant but ore emotionally closer. In such communities most of the people work in the area and the community is self-sufficient. There is no more than one of each business (basically a general Store and a gas station). These communities are almost communistic, and generally supported by the US' agrarian socialism programs. The other interpretation is that he is moving to a foreign socialistic country. Once there he's going to eat lots of peaches. The peaches where he is now are tainted with oppression but in the country (which ever one it is) are fresher and more free.

The third stanza discusses capitalism as an unnatural thing. peaches are fruit, and fruit comes from fruit trees not cans. The "It was put there" lines show capitalism as a sexist institution a non-gender specific term like worker, or employee would have been used other wise. The term "factory" is a reference to the factories of the Industrial Revolution when people worked long hours for mere pocket change. Industrial society has lead to placing beautiful nature into a can. Line 14 shows that Nature's candy has been forced into can. The word hand has long been a symbol of a force and strength and also oppressive control hence the American idiom "I've got them eating out of my hand." By placing pie after the can, the Presidents, are implying that we feed upon this oppression. The wishes embodied in the fourth stanza imply a desire and a plan to over through the establishment. A daily consumption of fresh peaches would only be allowed to the common person by a socialistic or communistic economy. Of course the obstacle in the way of the daily peach is the "Sun soaking bulges in the shade". These bulges are the portly capitalists who do nothing but lounge around in the shade while trying to get a tan, because their delicate complexion couldn't take the sun. They're people who haven't worked all their life and have lived by walking on the backs of men.

Capitalism is declared decadent and inescapable. In seventh stanza the Presidents turn up the imagery. The twenty fourth line vents anger at the decay capitalism has caused. By squishing a "rotten peach in my fist" there is an angry attempt to shrink the decay caused by capitalism and squish it out of existence. The anger is given intense force by the word fist which produces an image of anger and strength. The previous line about talking a nap may seem silly and out of place but implies that at present the only way to squish the "rotten peach" of capitalistic decay is in dreams. The 25th line reinforces this idea. Communism and socialism are beliefs that are publicly seen to be feminine. During the Industrial Revolution and the two American Red Scares (after World War I and II) socialists were seen as something less than masculine. They were ridiculed as being week and woman like (as the women's rights movement hadn't quite happened and such a belief was socially acceptable). In modern thought the woman artistically represents an entity of great beauty and equal intelligence, as far as The Presidents of the United States of America are concerned a socialistic/communistic state would be a beautiful thing. Also the tisted roots symbolize the change in ideals from our parents. It is most likely that anyone who grew up in the 50's sees communism as twisted. In America, roots are seen as a metaphor for someone's cultural base, a twist in them would be a twist or change in them. The Presidents have diverged from the beliefs of their parents.

The final verses of the song are set over a heavy slamming of the basses (guibass and bassitar, as they call them) with some distortions producing the sounds of a waging revolution. If one hasn't heard it, you need not fear, the lyrics express the message far more effectively. The Revolution will happen but, the presidents warn that now is not the time with screams of "Not now" and "Not Yet". They hope in time the world will be ready for what the revolution will bring. Where the "beneficial" fruit of communism, here symbolized by peaches, will be free for millions.

Enough interpretting. We may stop and be amused at the ultimate irony. The Presidents of the United States of America are singing favorably about communism. The same communism that Americans have been fighting for years. Please note I don't always agree with the Presidents of the united States of America, whether they are a band or an "elected" man.
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Anything above the dashes were written by somebody else. I dont know who wrote this. I'm lookin for the author. This interpretation is better than the "girl parts" one. - Unseen"

OK, so that was reeeeeeeally long - but if you've got this far, congratu-ma-lations. And here's your reward. Yes, there really is a reward. You don't even have to prove that you've read it; you've got this far, you've scrolled aaaall the way down here: here's a free song. It's a Lemon Jelly track that samples 'Peaches', aptly called 'The Fruity Track'. Take a listen:

mp3: Lemon Jelly - The Fruity Track
(from Stay With You EP)

P.S. Thanks Joe. Without you, this post wouldn't exist. Think of the difference you have made to the world. Isn't it humbling?

1 comment:

du Teleprompter said...

Amazing!

Cheers from brazil!