Perfume Genius – Put Your Back N 2 It
With an album title sounding like an Usher song (ft Ludacris) and a name that is frankly just an anti-anosmic boast, Perfume Genius is a bit of an enigma.
However, as the stage name for Seattle solo artist Mike Hadreas (which basically sounds like the rap name for someone who played too much San Andreas), it is simply a cover for Hadreas to explore some pretty personal themes in his music. He does this rather affectingly, and most often with only a microphone, drums and a piano.
The album on the absolute surface would probably be considered ‘easy listening’. Something you would most likely pop on at a dinner party or if you were studying. But further delving into the album and no less the songwriters back-story reveals it to be the exact opposite of that. Without giving to much away (you have to listen to it yourselves people), Hadreas suffers, and has suffered. And he is very good at communicating this suffering through words and music, if you take enough time to listen.
While it would be easy to place Perfume Genius in the ever expanding box of singer songwriters who have begun forgoing the acoustic guitar for the synthesiser as we climb further into the 21st century ( Youth Lagoon, Stephen Merritt, et al) what Perfume Genius has to separate himself from a very talented pack is lyrical and emotional thematic density. His lyrics are clever and well written, but not only that, they are emotionally layered and textured, and bring across strong evocations with each track.
At a certain point it becomes redundant to continually describe this music as emotionally effecting. Yet this can only mean that the album is a success. Hadreas has written about deeply personal matters, most of which a normal person would have no business in even hearing let alone understanding or resonating with.
It is why Put Your Back N 2 It is such a resounding success as an album. Taking these complicated lyrical themes, and adding enough light and shade to the songs to not overwhelm the listeners is no mean feat, yet Hadreas has achieved it. The album transplants you directly within Hadreas mind’s inner circle, and after 45 minutes he leaves you no option but to sit there thankful, sympathetic and hopeful for more.