One of the great things about rock music is that you can make it whatever you want to be. It can be heavy, conceptual, and meaningful, or it can be carefree, lighthearted, and frivolous. We like to think music is always so purposeful, and it often is, but it doesn’t have to be to make a damn good tune. Our friend Jeff DeVito knows full well about the different thematic dimensions of rock n’ roll, and with his latest single, “Peaches and Pie,” he’s chosen to go the playful, upbeat route, the first new single to come from his upcoming Sagittarius album, which will arrive this fall.

The song is a bit of a ’90s rock throwback jam, well produced, well written, and well recorded. In fact, “Peaches and Pie” is something of a leftover from his days in the band Particle Zoo, a popular New Jersey underground act that DeVito was a member of. He wrote the song over 15 years ago, but for whatever reason, it never went anywhere until he recently dusted it off and reworked it.

Discussing the song’s origins and its significance, DeVito said, “The forthcoming album is a mixed bag of some songs I wrote very recently and some that I’ve had lurking around, unfinished for many years. ‘Peaches and Pie’ is one of those back catalog songs that I always thought had potential but needed some work, so I dusted it off, changed the key, added a solo section, and focused the lyrics a bit.

“People always ask what a song is about. I think with ‘Peaches and Pie,’ it’s not really about anything—it doesn’t tell a story of some kind—it’s more of a feeling set to music. In this case, there’s a sense of longing and resignation (‘when you gonna find your little baby,’ ‘when you gonna make time for your honey,’ ‘drifting ever closer to the deep end’) set against an obviously false series of self-assurances and denial (‘I’m fine,’ ‘keep it inside,’ ‘better this way’).”

“I think with ‘Peaches and Pie,’ it’s not really about anything—it doesn’t tell a story of some kind—it’s more of a feeling set to music.”

He concludes: “Structure-wise, it’s a pretty simple song that builds to an epic refrain of indifference (‘it’s all the same’) but ultimately just ends up where it begins, further reinforcing the dispirited nature of the lyrics. Though I started writing this song years ago, it feels oddly relevant again.”

When he rediscovered “Peaches and Pie.” DeVito reworked it both musically and lyrically, though the Bush-era America mindset of denial and indifference continues to feel applicable. Featuring eleven new tracks, Sagittarius is a bit of a moody affair, even cynical at times, but it’s contrasted with a certain degree of hope that is laced throughout the record.

That very hope or optimism is something that DeVito often relies on within his songwriting, and it seems like there’s a greater need for it today than there even was five years ago. It also fits in well with the arrangements, which slowly build in volume and intensity. For DeVito, it’s good to be back, keeping the traditional rock n’ roll torch lit and burning brightly.

Artwork for the album ‘Sagittarius’ by Jeff DeVito