Fuck the Pain Away

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"Fuck the Pain Away"
Song by Peaches
from the album The Teaches of Peaches
ReleasedSeptember 5, 2000
RecordedThe Rivoli, Toronto, Ontario, June 10, 2000

"Fuck the Pain Away" is a song by Canadian singer Peaches from her second studio album, The Teaches of Peaches (2000). It became her breakthrough song and has since remained her signature song.[2][3] Its widespread licensing in films as well as numerous official and unofficial cover versions (including a notable cover by of Montreal) has led to a sustained popularity for the song.

Writing and inspiration[edit]

The song combines low-fidelity, rumbling bass with snare drums from a Roland TR-909 to make a "clickity-clack" rhythm.[4][5][6] Muted yelling sounds can be heard in the background.[5]

The song's lyrics established Peaches' reputation as a sex-positive feminist.[7] She uses euphemisms to present a sexually aggressive image.[8] The lyrics include references to "Call Me" by Blondie and The Pretenders' frontwoman Chrissie Hynde.[9][10] The line "Stay in school, 'cause it's the best" alludes to Peaches' previous occupation as a teacher.[10] Peaches' vocal performance was described as vampy, lustful, and insouciant.[4][5] Her bold delivery holds "between self-empowerment and self-destruction."[11]


Peaches never recorded "Fuck the Pain Away" in a studio. The only official version is a live recording from the first time it was ever performed[12] at The Rivoli in Toronto. Peaches has noted the presence of tape hiss and crowd noise on the master, which was taken from a cassette recording of the board mix that was offered to her by the sound engineer after the performance in exchange for $5. Nevertheless, she has stated that "it ain't broke, don't fix [it]. I am never recording this song again."[13]

Critical reception[edit]

The Observer Music Monthly listed "Fuck the Pain Away" at 61 on its list of the best songs of the 2000s.[14] Complex magazine named it the seventh greatest slutwave song of all time.[6] Q listed it at #826 on their 1001 Best Songs Ever list.[15] The Guardian included the song on its list of "1000 songs everyone must hear".[10]

Music videos[edit]

Notably, there is no official music video for the song, and Peaches called upon fans to create videos and other performance art pieces which utilize it.[16] One parody shows "Fuck the Pain Away" being performed by Miss Piggy.[17] Another version, directed by Erik Huber, takes footage from The Andy Griffith Show and inserts a dancing woman.[16]

Impact and reuse[edit]

Thom Yorke performing "15 Step", which was influenced by "Fuck the Pain Away".

Thom Yorke cited "Fuck the Pain Away" as an inspiration in making "15 Step" for Radiohead's 2007 album In Rainbows.[18] A nightclub in Brighton, England, takes its name from the song.[19]

Belgian group 2ManyDJs included the song on their 2002 album As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt. 2. It appears on the album's visual mix, accompanied by clips of the Velvet Underground's banana design emerging from Peaches' groin from The Teaches of Peaches.[20] British singer Bat for Lashes has performed a live cover version.[21] On Gorgon City's 2014 album Sirens, Erik Hassle reinterprets the refrain for "FTPA", a song about casual sex.[22]

"Fuck the Pain Away" became a popular choice when film and TV soundtracks were in need of a catchy but objectionable song.[23] It was used for a key scene in Sofia Coppola's 2003 film Lost in Translation.[24] In the scene, Bill Murray's character glumly sits in a Japanese strip club as women pole dance to the song.[25] It is used in the 2002 horror film My Little Eye,[26] the 2006 reality film Jackass Number Two,[27] the 2011 romantic comedy Getting That Girl,[28] the 2011 action film Drive Angry,[29] and the 2013 gross out film Wetlands,[30] as well as being sung by Bollo in The Mighty Boosh Live. It also appeared in an episode of the thirteenth season of South Park, "Butters' Bottom Bitch".[31] The 30 Rock episode "Future Husband" shows Tina Fey's character Liz Lemon using the song as a ringtone.[32] The song also appeared in end credits of the True Blood season 6 episode of the same name.[33] The song was also used in The Handmaid's Tale in a 2017 episode, "Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum", and in the Canadian show Letterkenny in a 2018 episode, "We Don't Fight at Weddings". A choral version appeared in season 3 of Sex Education.[34]

The song was referenced and featured in Red Letter Media's review of Baby's Day Out, claiming that the film's German title translates to Fuck the Pain Away. The song itself plays over a montage toward the end of the review.


  1. ^ Caulfield, Keith (October 11, 2003). "Fatherfucker". Billboard. Vol. 115 no. 41. p. 69. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  2. ^ Gill, Andy (July 7, 2006). "Album: Peaches". The Independent. p. 19. Archived from the original on October 29, 2014. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  3. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (July 24, 2006). "Filth and fury". The Guardian. p. 23. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Abebe, Nitsuh (December 1, 2002). "Peaches: The Teaches of Peaches". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Desrosiers, Mark. "Peaches: The Teaches of Peaches". PopMatters. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Baker, Ernest (December 22, 2010). "The 25 Greatest Slutwave Songs Of All Time". Complex. Retrieved October 25, 2010.
  7. ^ Sinagra, Laura (November 2003). "Peaches, 'Fatherfucker'". Spin. p. 116. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  8. ^ Rosewarne, Lauren (August 13, 2013). American Taboo: The Forbidden Words, Unspoken Rules, and Secret Morality of Popular Culture. ABC-Clio. p. 75. ISBN 0-313-39934-4.
  9. ^ Rosewarne, Lauren (April 19, 2011). Part-Time Perverts: Sex, Pop Culture, and Kink Management. ABC-Clio. p. 14. ISBN 0-313-39158-0.
  10. ^ a b c "1000 Songs Everyone Must Hear". The Guardian. March 17, 2009. p. 10. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  11. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (July 12, 2007). "Readers recommend: Sweary songs". The Guardian. p. 4. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  12. ^ Maron, Marc (October 5, 2015). "Peaches (singer) – WTF Podcast with Marc Maron #643". Retrieved March 16, 2016 – via YouTube.
  13. ^ Manson, Shirley (August 11, 2020). "Peaches – The Jump with Shirley Manson". Retrieved April 13, 2021 – via Stitcher.
  14. ^ "The Best 75 Singles of the Noughties". The Observer. November 29, 2009. p. 12.
  15. ^ "Q - 1001 best songs ever (2003)". Q. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
  16. ^ a b McGillicuddy, Louisa (December 2, 2011). "Listomania - 10 Best Found Footage Music Videos". NME. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  17. ^ Hobart, Erika (June 1, 2009). "Peaches". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  18. ^ Kent, Nick (August 2006). "Ghost in the Machine". Mojo. No. 153. pp. 74–83.
  19. ^ Garcia, Gilbert (October 22, 2006). "Slices of Peaches". Dallas Voice. Archived from the original on October 26, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  20. ^ Gordon, Jeremy; Phillips, Amy (May 8, 2014). "Soulwax Release Astonishing Visual Mix of Mash-Up Classic As Heard On Radio Soulwax Pt 2". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  21. ^ Sauma, Luiza (November 5, 2006). "Bat For Lashes, Bush Hall, London". The Independent. p. 14. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  22. ^ Gibsone, Harriet (October 3, 2014). "Gorgon City: Sirens review – scintillating pop-house powerhouse". The Guardian. p. 24. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  23. ^ "True Blood: Peaches, Plot Twists, and a Whole Lot of Pain". Houston Press. July 15, 2013. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  24. ^ Pulver, Andrew (May 20, 2013). "Why is Sofia Coppola obsessed with pole dancing?". The Guardian. p. 3. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  25. ^ Mitchell, Aurora (July 23, 2014). "The Lost in Translation Soundtrack Makes Me Pine for Every Stranger I Was Too Scared to Give My Number To". Vice. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  26. ^ "My Little Eye (2002) - Soundtracks". IMDb. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  27. ^ "Jackass Number Two (2006) - Soundtracks". IMDb. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  28. ^ "Getting That Girl (2011) - Soundtracks". IMDb. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  29. ^ "Drive Angry (2011) - Soundtracks". IMDb. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  30. ^ Myers, Kimber (September 4, 2014). "Review: 'Wetlands' Starring Carla Juri Is Just as Shocking As You've Heard". IndieWire. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  31. ^ Nisker, Merrill (October 15, 2009). "Peaches featured on South Park!!". peachesrocks.com. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
  32. ^ Vesey, Alyx (April 12, 2010). "Tuning In: Liz Lemon's ringtone". Bitch. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  33. ^ "True Blood: S 6 EP 65: Music". HBO. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  34. ^ Hudson, Alex (September 17, 2021). "Season 3 of 'Sex Education' Features a Cover of "Fuck the Pain Away" by Peaches". Exclaim!. Retrieved September 19, 2021.

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