Tuesday, July 20th, 2021

Peach PRC – Symptomatic

We got our peaches out in Adelaide…


Alfred Soto: It begins well: a worry her doctor’ll assume she’s day drinking again. Then the distortions, rhythm guitar licks, and yelped vocals make appearances. Someone’s trying to make a statement About These Times by hoping too many production choices will appeal to as many Spotify listeners as possible.

Will Adams: The track sparkles as any throwback synthpop should — I’m reminded of last year’s Kiesza album — but it’s not enough to salvage the lyric, which completely overdoses overdoes it with the health/sickness metaphors. Alcohol! Meds! Drugs! Narcissism! Hole in a solar plexus! (???) And, finally, the word “symptomatic,” which — after reading on a near-daily basis for the past year during the still-not-over pandemic — is not really what I want to hear right now.

Ian Mathers: It does make a certain kind of sense that a song about being a mess (and/or feeling like you’re a mess) is, lyrically, more than a bit of a mess. It’s also one of the only songs I can think of that addresses psychiatric meds with this level of bluntness and nuance simultaneously (the other one that comes to mind is The National’s “Graceless”), and even if I’m kind of squinting my eyes trying to parse how exactly “it’s all just symptomatic” cashes out here, I do keep getting the bit where her doctor is trying to talk to her stuck in my head.

Michael Hong: Peach PRC knows she’s being hedonistic, spilling a story of narcissism and indulgence under the rosy production of its verses. But “Symptomatic” never quite fulfills its promises, always too restrained, needing a chorus that joins in the pleasure instead of sinking into a narcotic haze.

Nortey Dowuona: Peach PRC’s soft, pleasant voice is far more muted and keening over the warm washed out synths and heavy handed kicks and baseball snares than it is over the glittery guitar, so when the chorus slams down, the vocal processing smudges her voice to the back of the mix, nearly swallowing it until the mix opens up, her voice brightened, then she disappears.

Vikram Joseph: One of those pop songs that just feels effortlessly great. Peach PRC’s vocals seem to hang from the rafters and swing through the room on invisible ropes; the synths fizz and foam like surf on a rocky beach, belying the song’s tricky themes. When you look past the giddy joy of the music, “Symptomatic” is one of the wittier, more thoughtful handlings of mental health in pop music I’ve heard lately. Through the eyes and wisdom of her psychiatrist (who Peach reckons, in a Fleabag-ish aside to camera, actually kinda likes her), we see her coming to terms with the fact that recovery is slow and non-linear (“Don’t throw out your meds cos you had a good day”). And when she tells us “I guess I’m crazy,” it doesn’t feel reductive in the way that, say, Ava Max comes across. It’s a glorious, summery bop that works on two distinct but inseparable levels.

Jeffrey Brister: Oh man, I’ve got another song to add to the Sadsack Summer Jam playlist, right after Merchandise’s “Time” and Motion City Soundtrack’s “Everything Is Alright”. “Symptomatic” cuts pretty close to the bone, its lyrics about self-destruction after a good day describing my past more often than I’d like. But it goes down really easy because it’s just fucking good. The sun-drenched lite-hyperpop production, Peach PRC’s successful Katy Perry affectation, the bouncy melody — I’m just in love.

Iris Xie: It’s been a long while since I’ve written for TSJ, but this is an extremely hilarious song to come back to at this point in my life, if only because it seems to combine this perfect nexus of mental health, bisexuality, and familiar pop music. The frazzled synths sound like Carly Rae on a come-down, and the tone is as lifting and sweet as any Taeyeon or IU solo, but Peach PRC does a successful job of pointing fun at her bisexual mess of a self, which I, also as a fellow bisexual, cringe at but only in recognition and laughter of a previous self gone by. There are many winning lines here, but “Think amphetamines are the only crystal that’d help,” is a clever play on the reality that one is prescribed chemicals in either form, crystal healing or “crystal healing.” Coming to terms with diagnosis puts you squarely in the box of chaos, where basically you decide whether you feel better. But what does that mean? Does that mean you continue the medications? How much does the psychiatrist trust you? Maybe you really are or are not okay. It ends up being an opaque kaleidoscope of observations, and we build a sense of trust with Peach PRC when she sings “The doctor says I’m manic. I think I’m manic.” I’ve had those moments too (well, hypomania) but it’s funny how coming to terms with when you’re the most de-realized is when you’re probably the most grounded and can start walking back to the place you need to be. Symptomatic, indeed, but at least you know where you are now, and no longer need peach colored glasses.

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5 Responses to “Peach PRC – Symptomatic”

  1. Iris <3 <3

  2. good to have you back Iris! and what a blurb to return on <3

  3. Awww Wayne and Will!! Thanks for the love, look forward to being back and writing more regularly now, missed y’all! ?

  4. IRIS BACK IRIS BACK the blurb is great btw

  5. I also came here to praise Iris’s blurb and return, snd also to thank Vikram for nailing the way that this works for me and that fuckin’ Ava Max song absolutely does not.

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