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Thread: SOTW: Peach, Plum, Pear

  1. #1

    Icon15 SOTW: Peach, Plum, Pear

    lyrics:

    i got Ys sometime in 2007, and found that i couldn't get into it. three years later, this past spring, i by chance came across the "sprout and the bean" video on youtube, and promptly went out and bought the milk-eyed mender. i put it on and marvelled throughout at the greatness and beauty of the music. then, nine tracks in, "peach, plum, pear" started. vaguely remembering that i had heard it somewhere before (i have a friend who likes joanna's music), my body pulsated, jerked awake, and i was mesmerized. i love it when a song becomes a favourite upon first listen.

    months later, "peach, plum, pear" still has a hold on me. it's so incredibly infectious. it's such a well-crafted song, from that totally catchy yet wistful chord progression to that affecting vocal melody to the emotive, evocative lyrics. so much is happening in this song, especially in the lyrics, with their tight, internal rhymes ("do i run rare? / you've changed some / peach, plum, pear / peach, plum") and incredibly profound and moving lines ("you were knocking me down with the palm of your eye"). this is some of the most beautiful poetry ever. it hits you hard with its beauty, yes, but moreso with its sheer emotional force.

    i love the mood of this song. sometimes i feel it contains so much pain, so much tension and truly a feeling of running or galloping -- the musical equivalent of the narrator "bolting like a horse." i feel the song is chronicling the moment when it hits you that someone who you once knew through and through is now a completely different person -- which may be way after the actual devolution of the relationship. it seems like the narrator has run into the subject of the song by chance ("we speak in the store [...] and i'm oozing surprise / but it's late in the day / and you're well on your way") and has had the wind knocked out of her as memories appear to be flooding back in droves after the first "na na na na" interlude.

    there is also a sense of bewilderment at the devolution of the relationship (songs like this always hit me the hardest), most apparent in the line "this is unlike the story it was written to be." the subject of the song still has a hold on the narrator ("suddenly shy", "knocking me down..."), and she is dizzied by all the memories and feelings and experiences associated with this one person whom she no longer really recognizes. by the end, she's asking if she even means anything to him anymore, if any of these lingering feelings she has towards him are reciprocated. and in a display of wry humour and wordplay particular to joanna, she compares his transformation to the differentiation between three different fruits. and the only thing that the fruits have in common (besides all being fruits) are their beginning letters, a surface detail, just as the only similarity that can be discerned between the person the narrator once knew and the person he is now is only on the surface, physical, tactile -- everything inside him has changed.

    other times i feel like the wisdom of the world is contained in this song, as if it is viewing the entire breadth of the world from a great distance. it sounds almost relaxed, taken at a leisurely tempo, and the narrator is looking back, affected by this experience, but also interpreting it sagely.

    i think, in the end, it's a bit of both. on walnut whales, this song sounds like a fresh wound, and some of the verb tenses which are in the past on MEM are in the present on WW. it's the same experience looked upon from two different points in time -- and on MEM especially, you can feel both sides, both emotional reactions -- one immediate, one reflective -- of the experience recounted in the song.

    and this is the beauty of "peach, plum, pear" for me: it makes me feel so many different things, it is absolutely overflowing with emotion. the lyrics are in equal parts abstract and specific enough for you to feel a palpable emotional impact from its narrative, yet still draw your own personal interpretations. it's probably my favourite song. it's been weaving in and out of my consciousness ever since i first listened to MEM. every now and then, i'll feel like its hold on me has finally wavered, and that maybe i'll get back into it in a few months, and a week or two later it sounds as fresh as ever. thank the lord. i hope i never tire of it.

    the words in this song combined with its poignant chord progression, particular tone of interwoven wisdom and despair, and her voice, completely uninhibited, emotionally bare -- it is a beauty which moves me deeply.

    what do you guys think?

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    Last edited by folderol and; 08-16-2012 at 12:00 AM. Reason: rectified some formatting issues upon thread revival

  2. #2
    it's a long long climb Kari's Avatar
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    Great write up!

    I'm formulating some thoughts...but this is definitely one of my very favorites and I feel like it's taken on new life in her recent shows.

  3. #3
    Lyrical acuity and mum-smarts menju56's Avatar
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    I love it. She played it when I saw her in September and seemed completely lost in the emotion of it.

  4. #4
    best finest surgeon JHV's Avatar
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    I wrote a blog post on PPP a few months back, I've cut/pasted it below for anyone who's interested.

    Here's the performance I talk about:

  5. #5
    Lyrical acuity and mum-smarts menju56's Avatar
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    ^ Fantastic write-ups, both. I never really noticed the internal rhymes before. It's deceptive; a lot of her "simpler"-looking songs still have a lot going on and this is no different. I find myself fascinated with how she constructs sentences and makes use of language. Even in an early song like this, what she's doing is quite remarkable.

    Melodically it's one of her catchiest and would do well in an introduction list of songs for a new listener.

  6. #6
    the right amount of dirty Mr. Fox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by folderol and View Post
    and lastly, a classic performance in Seattle c. 2004:
    Is there an available recording of this show anywhere?

  7. #7
    whose wheels are squeaking arsonist samael's Avatar
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    The
    We speak in the store
    I'm a sensitive bore
    You seem markedly more
    And I'm oozing surprise

    part could be the best Joanna opener bar none.

    I love this little song. If you're trying to convert anybody into a Joanna fan, this should def be on the compilation.

    There's a lot of desperation, cynicism and disappointment mixed intermittently in this one.

    It's interesting that she changed the lyrics. She hasn't done that to any other song in her catalogue.

    And this part:
    Am I so dear
    Do I run rare
    You've changed so
    Peach, plum, pear
    Peach, plum

    always gets me.

  8. #8
    to the loneliest city in the world other pete's Avatar
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    Having loved Sprout and the Bean when I first heard it, this was the next song that really made me realise Joanna was truly a force to be reckoned with. It blew me away with the internalised ferocity of the performance and the rapid fire imagery of the lyrics.

    And yet it was only today that I heard of this for the first time:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0...w_bottom_links !


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