If nominative determinism was a true force in the world then Peaches – birth name Merrill Beth Nisker – would be the purveyor of sweet, maybe quirky, pop tunes, not the everything-turned-up-to-eleven electropunk/alternative hip-hop she is known for. As one of the few artists whose sartorial choices rival Björk’s for outlandishness, Peaches’ in your face persona extends beyond the music she creates to the very image she projects. With her proclivity for explicit content that challenges traditional gender roles and image, sexism, and ageism, now is probably a good time to warn anyone with a sensitive disposition, who is offended by coarse language, crude gestures and images, sexual references, overt sexuality, etc. etc. to perhaps go and read a different Women-Who-Rocktober post; there’s “naughty” stuff ahead.
While the electronic, synth-pop, and alternative hip-hop elements of Peaches’ music may at times obscure her rock appeal, that crossover appeal has been amply demonstrated as she has been the opening act for Marilyn Manson and Queens of the Stone-Age, and had punk-rock royals Iggy Pop and Kim Gordon feature on her recordings. Her music has also permeated popular culture in other ways, being featured on television shows as diverse as South Park, 30 Rock, and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, as well as the movies Mean Girls and Lost in Translation.
Having had her work featured so widely, it seems fair to say that Peaches is a pop-culture phenomenon, albeit a slightly underground one, and it is great to see her message of gender and sexual equality been given such prominent platforms. Some may find her style and/or lyrics to be a bit full-on, but it often seems that it only by resorting to extreme illustrations of, and challenges to, its shortcomings that society actually makes any moves to redress them.
For being so in-your-face – such as when she titled her 3rd album, Fatherfucker, in an attempt to remove a degree a gender bias in our swearing habits – and for making you laugh before making you think, Peaches is definitely one of the Women-Who-Rocktober.