Peach Plum Pear

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I've been a fan of Joanna Newsom's music for a while now, but I haven't gone beyond her album version songs and a few live performances via youtube.

In hindsight, I'm glad I decided to stick around and try to listen to a couple of her songs, since the first minute I listened to her song, I thought: what the heck is this?!

Peach Plum Pear was one of her songs that I first listened to.
Here's the version that I usually listen to:

Her voice is so different from what is accepted as 'normal' in society, and it's a shame that our definition of beauty is so narrow. Her voice is raw and conveys such a deep sense of emotion.
And her harp playing? Stunning.
Oh the joy I derive from listening to her songs

Now, before, I was a little irritated that Joanna changes the singing or tweaks the playing just a little bit from performance to performance.
But that was before I found an alternate version of Peach Plum Pear.

Here's the new version that I found that I got shivers listening to the first time (though the ending was a little drawn out imo):

And lastly, here is a wonderful cover I found of the song, by Owen Pallett (And it was a shock to find a cover that I actually liked since I usually don't like covers):


Oh, and I nearly forgot the lyrics! I've read a number of people say that she is a brilliant lyricist. And I've got to say that I agree. For the longest time, I just listened to her songs without examining the lyrics. And this song's words just touched me so.

These are the lyrics as I hear when listening to the song:

We speak in the store
I'm a sensitive bore
You seem markedly more
And I'm oozing suprise

But it's late in the day
And you're well on your way
What was golden went gray
And I'm suddenly shy

And the gathering floozies
Afford to be choosy
And all sneezing darkly
In the dimming divide

Well I have read the right books
To interpret your looks
But you were knocking me down
With the palm of your eye

Oh na na na...

This is unlike the story
It was written to be
I was riding its back
When it used to ride me

And we were galloping manic
To the mouth of the source
And we were swallowing panic
In the face of its force

And I was blue
I was blue and unwell
Made me bolt like a horse

Oh na na na...

And now it's done
Watch it go
Well you've changed some
Water runs from the snow

And am I so dear
And do I run rare
Well you've changed some
Peach, plum, pear
Peach, plum

Now, I think that it's a song about a girl who thought she found love, but it was just a crush. She's new to love and still shy. When the man does not act as she expects, she reflects on how she's lost something that was never hers. She's thinking that he's changed from that ideal love in her mind, to this reality where he never showed any interest in her to begin with.
I'm curious what the 'peach plum pear' means though. Any thoughts?