Music during Quarantine: Peach Tree Rascals
I first learned about the band Peach Tree Rascals a few months ago, and since then, I’ve been listening to their songs on repeat. A lot of the time, the world can be confusing, messy, and overwhelming, and this past year was certainly no exception. Once in a while though, I’ll come across music like the Peach Tree Rascals’ that just makes sense to me, that makes me feel grateful that someone else has worked hard to sift through all the chaotic noise out there in order to create something meaningful out of it.
I wonder if a part of this connection that I’ve felt to the Peach Tree Rascals’ music has to do with the fact that I come from a similar time and place as them — like me, they are originally from the Bay Area, and many of their songs that I like most were created within the past year, during quarantine. A lot of the sounds and lyrics of their recent songs resonate with how I’ve been feeling lately.
On the other hand, perhaps it’s just that they do a really good job of expressing common emotions, like love and fear and hope, in their own unique way. For the most part, their music does feel timeless and their beautiful blending of multiple genres, including jazz, pop, hip hop, and rap, has proven to be popular and accessible to a wide audience — many of their songs have millions of plays on Spotify.
The first song of theirs that I listened to was a fast-paced, upbeat-sounding one called “Fumari,” which includes the following lyrics:
“We live in memories, and we never move on
It’s hard to set it free, but we’ll never give up
We chasing miracles, and forever we’ll run
We chasing miracles, but it’s never enough”
“Fumari’’ strongly reminded me of the American pursuit of happiness, and the experience of being young and having big dreams. The lyrics capture the dark undertones of having grandiose, insatiable expectations — there’s something sad about the thought of being trapped in a fantasy, “liv[ing] in memories” and “never mov[ing] on” from this youthful, fantastical kind of ambition. Such a relentlessly future-focused attitude comes at the cost of being unable to live in the present moment and experience reality.
The Peach Tree Rascals express complex, mixed emotions so compellingly, not only in “Fumari” but in a lot of their other songs as well. For example, their debut EP, Camp Nowhere, released earlier this year, has a laid-back vibe that makes me think of carefree summer days spent road tripping and camping, and yet the lyrics touch on darker feelings like the fear of abandonment (in “LEAVE ME”) or the loneliness of struggling mentally while trying to maintain an outward appearance of “doing good, doing fine” (in “Doing Fine”).
I think this ambivalence is what really drew me to their music, because I’ve had mixed feelings about these past months of quarantine. It feels strange to say that although there has been so much suffering and turmoil going on in the world, and although adjusting to a new way of life has presented its own unique challenges, this past year has been unexpectedly, strikingly good for me in many ways.
The time and space of quarantine has led me to relate to the sentiment expressed in the song “Change My Mind,” of moving on from worrying about the past and future, and instead appreciating the good in the present. The positive moments this year have been so powerful because of the abundance of the bad, not in spite of it — in contrast with all that’s going wrong in the world, the persistence of real, beautiful things in my life, like close relationships and good music, has made living life feel even more precious. As the Peach Tree Rascals put it in “Change My Mind,”
“I’ve been wasting
All my days
Tired of blaming
I know it’s right
I’m rolling light
I’m gonna live my life
And ain’t nobody gonna change my mind”