On first listen, Rub is a frightening mixture of confident electronic beats and aggressively sexual lyrics; unashamedly attention seeking, the album boasts tracks titled ‘Vaginoplasty’, ‘Dumb Fuck’ and ‘How you like my Cut’ to name a few.
It is clear that Peaches uses Rub to explore a variety of relevant issues, such as gender and sexual politics. ‘Dick in the Air’ is an anti-misogynistic rant against the persistent objectification of women. ‘I Mean Something’ holds some of the most poignant lyrics on the album: “No matter how old, how young, how sick | I mean something”; a direct rejection of ageism. The centrepiece of the album, ‘Free Drink Ticket’, is a raw, scathing attack on an ex-lover, and a total departure from the tongue-in-cheek tone of every other track. The twofold drop in the tone of her voice creates an unsettlingly real portrayal of post break up emotion; showing listeners that humour is not in fact the sole purpose of Rub.
In reality her lyrics are not that outrageous by today’s standards; yet the likes of Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj saturate radio play whilst Peaches is deemed too explicit for mass media. She refuses to dress her lyrics up in catchy melodies instead using a minimal range of electronic sounds to place absolute emphasis on the message of each song. On one hand it’s admirable that Peaches refused to dilute Rub for the sake of mainstream consumption, but it’s also a shame that her gritty analysis of social boundaries is reserved for a select audience.
Rub is very similar to her previous albums thematically, yet the audience is very different. We are much more open to transgressive music than we were six years ago, when I Feel Cream was released; however, Peaches’ insistence on being controversial prevents her from using her music to incite the thoughtful, widespread discussion that she so clearly craves.