Electro with a Feminist Bent
A feminist electronic punk star, Peaches, collaborates with other female vocalists to create an album that fearlessly focuses on female sexuality. Her voice is generally a bit robotic and monotone, but she adds diversity by featuring other singers throughout the album. Unlike some electronic music, her songs are slow-paced and the electronic components are a bit mellow compared to the common practice in this genre. This in a sense directs more attention to her vocals, which are also very subdued in tone. Therefore, the content of her lyrics becomes the focal point, since her words are not obstructed by overpowering instruments or melodies. This gives her an advantage in terms of communicating an agenda, which seems to be one of sexual empowerment for women.
This agenda is represented very notably in the title track, “Rub,” a song that comes across as very unassuming with its bland, almost featureless instrumental components. The punch lies in the lyrics, which are explicit and graphic. Peaches unabashedly names and refers to various parts of the female anatomy in an overtly sexual way. Her words would shock some audiences, but this seems to be exactly the point of the album.
However, the shock value stops there by and large. That is, none of the tracks on Rub really stand apart from the rest. Musically, they all have a pretty consistent sound. They all thematically focus on sexual and relationship tension, with a feminist bent. Even “Free Drink Ticket,” which features a man’s perspective, seems if anything a critique of masochism within sexual relationships.
Towards the end of the album, one of the more uplifting, empowering songs is “Light in Places,” featuring some more traditional singing, as opposed to merely monotone vocals. The chorus is, “I’ve got light in places you didn’t know could shine.” The track attests to the liberation of all people and the presence of beauty even in the darkest parts of an individual.
Rub concludes with “I Mean Something,” a song that features her friend and early collaborator, Feist. The song continues the theme of empowerment, for the opening lyrics are, “No matter how old, how young, how sick, I mean something, I mean something.” This just reinforces the tone of the whole album, which makes an effort to justify the rights and individuality of all people.