Jesse Jarnow

“nyc’s like a graveyard” – the moldy peaches

“NYC’s Like A Graveyard” – the Moldy Peaches (download here)
from The Moldy Peaches (2001)
released by Rough Trade (buy)

(file expires September 5th)

Like “I Don’t Wanna Leave You on the Farm,” the Moldy Peaches’ “NYC’s Like A Graveyard” might first be construed as a novelty anthem. And it kind of is. Certainly, the anti-folk Peaches — who wore bunny suits, among other costumes, during their performances — eventually broke up rather than trying to shrug off the stigma of humor.

I remember hearing this song everywhere during the summer of 2001. I think it got played between nearly every set at Wetlands, and RANA covered it once or twice. It made me buy the album, just before a solo road trip I took to New England during the first week of September. Driving through rolling green hills, none of the other songs on the album — all novelties (or at least mutants) — took, but “NYC’s Like A Graveyard” was every bit as good as I thought it was. The recording hisses, almost literally, between the abrasive guitar and crummy-sounding hi-hat. Listened to as a single, between songs by other artists, my ears cringe whenever “NYC’s Like A Graveyard” begins.

Then 9/11 happened, and the song twisted into vapor. It’s not that the Moldy Peaches were prophetic, like Dylan’s “High Water (For Charley Patton),” their song was just true. “NYC’s Like A Graveyard” is a utopian summer anthem (“all the rock stars double datin’”), and one of those random thoughts one has sometimes when looking at the skyline (“all the tombstones skyscrapin’”), but mostly it’s about being young in New York (“we’ve got it! we’ve got it!”). In that period of post-attack murmur, though, it went away, not censored so much as willed out of people’s minds. RANA certainly never covered it again. Five years later, the song now a playlist footnote, New York City has changed considerably, though it is still — among many other things — a graveyard.

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