A few months ago, Perfume Genius released No Shape, one of 2017’s best albums. Now he’s back with a new cover song that he recorded live-in-studio for a Spotify session. Perfume Genius leader Mike Hadreas has taken on “Body’s In Trouble,” a 1988 song from the Canadian singer-songwriter Mary Margaret O’Hara. Hadreas has been doing the song live for a while. His version is a glowing, searching, expansive piece of work, just as dramatic in its dynamics as anything on No Shape. It doesn’t sound much like the original. Hadreas also did a live-in-studio version of his No Shape single “Slip Away” for the Spotify session. Below, you can check out both songs, and you can read what Hadreas has to say about “Body’s In Trouble.”
Of “Body’s In Trouble,” Hadreas writes:
I started covering this song on tour almost immediately after hearing it for the first time. I was so struck by her command and presence even though she weaves in and out of being present. Her vocal is somehow on the rhythm and completely around it, lyrics and chords are repeated throughout but there is no real center. There are brief moments where the music fully connects in a traditional way but after a few listens the most satisfying part is the song’s magic formlessness. I wouldn’t dare try to mimic or recapture her performance, but I tried to sing in the same wandering, mantra-like way – but taking it somewhere a little more sinister. I’ve lost count of how many times I use the word “body” in my songs.
My relationship with my own body is confusing and I use music to try and puzzle it out, or as rebellion against needing a form at all. Playing this cover onstage every night I use her lyric to phase in and out of both of those ideas.
No Shape is out now on Matador.