Song Review: 'Peaches' by Justin Bieber ft Daniel Caesar and Giveon.
Justin Bieber is back at Number 1 with 'Peaches.'
Never look at the top of the charts for anything other than the most mediocre and easy to ignore songs on the planet. Don’t get me wrong, plenty of great songs have overcome the masses to make it to number one. But, unfailingly, when one takes the time to look at the song that has risen to the top of the charts, that song tends to be remarkable for being unremarkable. Generally, the best selling song is the one that is bland enough to please a lot of people all at once.
That brings me to our current, as of April 4th, 2021, number 1 song in America, Peaches by Justin Bieber, featuring Daniel Caesar and Giveon. Now, I know that giving critical analysis to Justin Bieber is a losing effort all around. If you like Bieber you dismiss any criticism as being criticism of him as a person and not a musician. If you hate Bieber why would you care if his music is any good, you’re busy ignoring him.
With that said, Peaches is currently the number one song in America and I am curious to know what the masses are up to musically these days. So, I spent a Sunday morning listening to Peaches over and over and over again in order to form a coherent and thoughtful opinion of the song, one that I hope will allow me to ignore Bieber the man in favor of simply analyzing the work he’s created.
My first impression of Peaches is that, yes, like many number one songs before it, it’s desperately mediocre. It’s a wobbly love ballad filled with empty platitudes over a lazy R & B track so basic I am not sure I couldn’t recreate it. And I don’t play an instrument. The sound of Peaches is fine, it’s derivative but pleasant, repetitious but not in an egregious way. It’s one of the more tolerable backing tracks ever for a Bieber song. That’s not saying much.
Lyrically, the song is all over the place. The opening line is just weirdly specific:
“I get my peaches down in Georgia” with the shout back auto-tuned line “Oh, yeah, shXX.’
The state of Georgia is known for Peaches and Bieber being a rich guy who enjoys peaches gets them from there? Maybe, who knows. Okay. Typically, in songs, 'Peaches' have been compared to women, so one could infer that he’s talking about a woman but the line is vague and meaninglessly delivered that he could legitimately be talking about where he gets his favorite peaches from. The shout back line ‘Oh, yeah, shXX’ appears utterly meaningless and exists to be rhymed in the next line where it is oh so inanely rhymed again with ‘ShXX.’
"I get my weed from California (that's that shXX)"
The chorus opens the song, I should have mentioned that already, a relatively modern and not particularly innovative trend. But I tripped over that opening line and the ludicrous times it gets repeated by Bieber in this 3 minute 19 second long song. The line is given no other significance within the rest of the song which could be two or three verses from different songs brought together to pad out this chorus that Bieber seems to love so much.
I got my peaches out in Georgia (oh, yeah, shXX)
I get my weed from California (that's that shXX)
I took my chick up to the North, yeah (badass biXXX)
I get my light right from the source, yeah (yeah, that's it)
This chorus repeats 7 times in this 3 minute and 19 second song and doesn’t have a single notable connection to any of the 3 verses that the song carries, one by Bieber, and one by each of Bieber’s collaborators, Daniel Caesar and Giveon. If one were to stretch a little, you could assume that the aforementioned (Badass BiXX) that Bieber took up North, yeah, is on the receiving end of the romantic platitudes of the verses, but that’s a stretch. There’s little evidence of that considering that the two other guys on the song are also making romantic overtures.
Let’s look at the verses…
And I see you (oh), the way I breathe you in (in)
It's the texture of your skin
I wanna wrap my arms around you, baby
Never let you go, oh
And I say, oh, there's nothing like your touch
It's the way you lift me up, yeah
And I'll be right here with you 'til the end
That’s fine, I guess. It’s sung in a fashion by Bieber however that is so sleepy as to sap the energy from the dedicated platitudes. Bieber loves that line about weed from California and you can sense that he may have smoked a little too much before recording the song because the singing is so sleepy and lacking in effort that it’s rather hard to believe he will have the strength to ‘be right here with you ‘til the end.’ Maybe after a snack and a nap he might sound more committed.
“And I see you, the way I breathe you in.” “It’s the texture of your skin” is the kind of skeevy line guys drop in clubs on girls too drunk to realize how skeevy you are. Meanwhile, returning to the previous weed observation, the part about 'wrapping my arms around you baby' and ‘it’s the way you lift me up,' may have more to do with a woman helping Bieber up after he's smoked too much and needs to be dragged home to bed.
I like that interpretation and that could actually make for a much more interesting and colorful song. Sadly, that’s not what Peaches is. None of these inane lyrics have any meaning. They’re something bland that can be passably sung over a derivative but not unpleasant R & B track. That’s a long way to say that Peaches is just wildly mediocre. The lyrics aren’t memorably awful, just empty and the track is passable old school R & B.
As for Daniel Caesar and Giveon, their verses are just as sleepy and meaningless. Both have nice enough voices but there are plenty of those in the world. Giveon's main contribution to Peaches is that truly insidious trend of musical product placement.
I left my girl, I'm in my Mallorca
Hate to leave her, call it torture
Remember when I couldn't hold her
Left the baggage for Rimowa
Rimowa, for the uninitiated, is a brand of high end luggage and while it could be just a clever reference it doesn't come off as clever, it plays like a shoutout in hopes of getting free luggage. Or perhaps they got the free luggage to include the brand in the song. Like everything else in Peaches, it's not a terrible line, really, but it's not great either.
There are a couple skeevy lines but that can be chalked up to guys trying to get laid which is what the majority of music by male artists of the last century have been about. It’s also exactly what we should expect from Bieber at this point. Bieber is never going to be anything other than what he is. To expect more from a Justin Bieber song than bland platitudes and posturing is a waste of effort. Bieber has carved a very safe, successful and dull place for himself and with the success of Peaches, he has no reason to do anything different.
We will probably be hearing variations on Peaches until age finally renders Bieber fully irrelevant, sitting atop a pile of money and being oblivious to the world around him. Even his inevitable fate being wholly unoriginal.