Perfume Genius - Queen | Track Review | By Volume

Understand that I am only as he made me: a faithful servant to all of the noise, all of the lights, all of the flashing in my head. Laura Stevenson - Wheel

Perfume Genius


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Author: on July 21, 2014

Perfume Genius’s “Queen” is a declaration. Mike Hadreas is back, and he’s weirder and more beautiful than ever, fiercer and more honest than you ever imagined.

Hadreas brazenly claims a societal fear of gay men and makes it his rallying cry. “No family is safe when I sashay,” he quips, surely the best lyric of 2014. Yes, I am queer. Yes, I am the enemy. Yes, I want to recruit your children. No, I’m not sorry. I’m here to fuck up your shit and make you like it. He polishes the conservative revulsion toward queerness and wears it as a shiny gold tank in the video for the single.

The music video would be better called a short film. It bends notions of gender and identity into endless formations. Hadreas travels, eats chocolate (ala Forrest and Jenny) and destroys property with a blonde woman with a knife-throwing stare. He is in her, and she is in him. He is in the Elvis impersonator taking a piss; she is in the corporate executive lording over her giant-shrimp eating team. When the pair finally jump off the side of the building to the encouraging arms of screaming cheerleaders, Hadreas is ensconced in rainbow light and explodes into feathers.

And it feels like that is just the beginning. The song itself is that perfect mix of rowdy, joyful and pissed off that fuels revolutions. Hadreas has created a queer anthem that demands we lift up our fists with him and take to the streets. It’s a sharp shift from the thoughtful, lilting embraces of 2012’s Put Your Back N 2 It and his 2010 debut, Learning. The music rattles, grinds, and rages. Enough hand holding, it’s time to fight — and party. “Queen” is a glorious first single that leaves us primed and ready for Too Bright.


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