Cast your mind back to 2020, a time of baking banana bread and endless amounts of screen time, and for those on the right side of TikTok, Peach PRC was spilling all her secrets. Curled up on her bed in front of a wall of CDs, her dog by her side, she strummed her guitar and sang of a backstory that Lana Del Rey only dreams of: the Aussie runaway, racing from the strip club to pop stardom. Manic Dream Pixie, the singer’s latest project, chronicles it all.
Since 2019, we’ve been delivered a scattering of singles, each one catchier and more viral than the last. From the outright petty joy of ‘Josh’ to the deeply heartfelt and devastating ‘Heavy’, Peach’s online following allows her to be a figure of a million contradictions.
Sharing life stories from her personal TikTok account @RitalinPRC, there’s very little off-limits in the songwriting stage when you’ve spilled your guts online every day. And while earlier tracks like ‘Symptomatic’ definitely cashed-in on that, diving deep into Peach’s history with mental illness, her debut EP delivers it all with nuance, careful distance and a bubblegum pop sound.
What could be a more perfect example of that sound than sampling Paris Hilton? Taking from the iconic ‘Stars Are Blind’, ‘Perfect For You’ feels destined to be a club classic, one that no doubt is already being screamed along to at G.A.Y every Saturday. Peach knows how to build them. Previously working with Bonnie McKee, the name behind big hits from Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Ava Max and Carly Rae Jepsen, it’s clear Peach is next in the lineage – a sure-fire pop princess in the making.
For pop fans, Manic Dream Pixie has it all. ‘Kinda Famous’ makes you dance, ‘F U Goodbye’ provides the up-tempo breakup hit, ‘Loved You Before’ is the insta-caption-ready cutesie love song. Peach came playlist ready, delivering every must-have for a blossoming pop star and ready to dominate. With her all-pink fairy look and cult fanbase, there’s really nothing standing in her way now.
But beyond the glitter, Peach PRC gets interesting when the singer gets darker. Talking recently online about how she’s struggling to balance being an artist with being the internet persona, she’s walking a fascinating, if intense, line. Peach is by no means the first influencer-turned-pop-star, but when was the last time we had one so openly and beautifully flawed?
Stepping up into the spotlight, talking openly about her struggles with addiction, her time as a stripper and the ways her bipolar affects her, even her most generic pop songs come along with a glimmer of something more interesting. Somewhat like a parody of the squeaky clean pop stars Disney channel used to churn out, Peach has the outfits, the talent, the hits – but she won’t hide the tough parts away.
The EP takes a turn when we hit ‘Favourite Person’, an outright track about her bipolar. This isn’t just a breakup track, instead Peach attempts to vocalise all the feelings of severe abandonment, grief and loss that are elevated by her mental illness. Without ever falling off the cliff edge into total darkness, keeping her feet still firmly rooted in pop, it’s the sort of track only a person like Peach could make, delivering it to a fan base of total understanding, years on from when she first opened up to the world.
Wrapping up with ‘Dear Inner Child’, it’s the sound I hope Peach strays more into. With intense vocal effects, it sits somewhere between Ariana Grande and Caroline Polachek – walking a strange dichotomy between pared-back and over the top.
Easily the EP’s most heartfelt offering, it places her lyrics at the forefront, a showcase that under all the pop production she’s a great writer. Singing “so if you want to wear pink I’ll wear it for you / and if you want to dance then I’ll strap up my shoes”, it’s an ode to her younger self as the ultimate act of forgiveness.
If you’re outside the Peach PRC circle, unfamiliar with the singer’s story or simply unconvinced by her persona from the outside of her cult fanbase, this release might be lax. Unlike previous singles, Manic Dream Pixie stays at the higher end of all-out production. Tracks one to three, especially, don’t let up for a second, which could wear you out.
@ritalinprcthis is a joke. a JOKE.♬ original sound – peach prc
If you’re a fan of more lyric-heavy tracks, or Peach’s stripped-back performances on TikTok, this probably isn’t the one for you, as ‘Dear Inner Child’ definitely left me wishing for more from Peach’s softer side.
Yet this evidently isn’t the last we’ll hear from Peach. For a first EP, Manic Dream Pixie is impressive. It’s the sort of EP you’ll revisit in 10, 20 years’ time when Peach is a huge pop star; the blueprint for something bigger to come. I just hope the bigger picture leaves room for more of a mix-up, providing space for Peach the writer and the singer, not just the pop princess.