Mike Hadreas’ work as Perfume Genius has often been described with words like “wounded” and “fragile.” His songs detail experiences with abuse, addiction, death, suicide, and the mistreatment of homosexuals with an elegant, but shy, sparseness. His phenomenal 2012 album Put Your Back N 2 It never really got the acclaim it deserved, and the biggest story attached to it was more about the politics behind Google/YouTube rejecting its promo for not being “family safe” (it showed two shirtless men hugging). Now Perfume Genius has announced his third album Too Bright — one of our most anticipated albums of the year — and it’s immeasurably cathartic when lead single “Queen” begins with Hadreas singing “Don’t you know your queen?” The song (and the entire album, one gathers from a press release comparing it to colossi like Scott Walker’s Tilt and Kate Bush’s The Dreaming) is the sound of floodgates letting loose, of all of the muted intensity that’s come before igniting and burning hot and fierce. Even in his most anthemic moments, like the final section of “Hood,” Perfume Genius has never sounded this furious and confident. It’s something fans (and likely Hadreas) needed even if we didn’t realize it at the time. Listen.
Hadreas explains how the song is about gay panic in this statement:
Sometimes I see faces of blank fear when I walk by … if these fucking people want to give me some power — if they see me as some sea witch with penis tentacles that are always prodding and poking and seeking to convert the muggles — well, here she comes.
Here’s the album tracklist:
01 “I Decline”
04 “No Good”
05 “My Body”
06 “Don’t Let Them In”
09 “I’m A Mother”
10 “Too Bright”
11 “All Along”
It was recorded with Portishead’s Adrian Utley and John Parish appears on several tracks.
Too Bright is out 9/22 via Matador Records. Pre-order here.