On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Peaches – Fuck the Pain Away (2000)
” Fuck the Pain Away” is a song by Canadian singer Peaches from her second studio album, The Teaches of Peaches (2000). It became her breakthrough song and has since remained her signature song. Its widespread licensing in films as well as numerous official and unofficial cover versions (including a notable cover by of Montreal) has led to a sustained popularity for the song.
We’re leaving the US today, dear reader, and making our way north to Toronto, Ontario in Canada. Merrill Nisker, known as Peaches, began her career in the 1990s, having stints in multiple bands before switching to a solo career and releasing her debut album, Fancypants Hoodlum, in 1995. We join her 5 years later in 2000 as she releases her second album, The Teaches of Peaches, and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track, Fuck the Pain Away.
In Fuck the Pain Away, Peaches demonstrates her belief and support in sex-positive feminism, the idea that women should be at liberty to attain full sexual freedom for themselves, which they should! The track is sexually explicit but is a reflection of Peaches’ viewpoint, her desire and belief that she is a woman of sexual liberation. We hear from the narrator of sexual acts they prefer as well as nods to both Blondie and to Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders. The song also champions the importance of remaining in school for the younger generation. As a former teacher, Peaches knew all too well the value of education.
I did not think I knew this song prior to listening but as soon as it began, I did indeed recognise it. The track was used in 2003 film, Lost in Translation, in a memorable scene where Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson’s characters decide to leave a strip club after spending a few uncomfortable minutes there. Peaches received much praise for her second album and it proved to be just the beginning. Now with six albums to her name, Peaches shows no signs of retiring just yet.
Favourite songs so far: