Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Perfume Genius

I just discovered Perfume Genius this morning as I muddled my way through the daily YouTube k-hole, looking for new music and Corgi videos. Perfume Genius is Mike Hadreas from Seattle, a kid in his 20s dealing with a "life of darkness," according to the Matador site. It sounds like he's had more crap to deal with than a lot of us, and it's no small feat to put your pain out into the world via your art. I'm glad he found a creative outlet to express himself and share his stories.

Musically, I like the way the songs are put together on his debut album, Learning (released in June). The lyrics are sad, but, also sparse and not overdone or overly dramatic. The music is also sparse, sometimes just piano, or, just strings with occasional harmonizing. The songs almost seem like vignettes and not entirely finished pieces, but, it somehow works. Like peering through tiny windows into someone's private life, and, then they draw the curtains. It's very pretty stuff, with no small debt to Iron & Wine and Cat Power.

It's probably no small coincidence, but, this morning I was also reading about the 5 teen suicides that have happened in the Anoka-Hennepin County School District in Minnesota this past year. 4 of the suicides were directly related to antigay harassment and bullying. The climate of intolerance in that school district is horrifying. Kids have no school policy protection, and, in one case, teachers were in on the bullying and their punishment is a mere unpaid leave. It's disgusting.

I guess this ties into the music of Perfume Genius in that I wish all of those kids who took their own lives had found an outlet for their pain and known about the community that awaits them, and, known that there are people out there to talk to (the Trevor Project, for example) and will accept them and love them for exactly who they are. For me, personally, once I found my 2 friends in college who were gay, I was unstoppable. Sure, it was really hard and I was still depressed and hated my school, but, I had a little team and it was us against the world. I learned coping skills for the horrible crap life threw at me and I had people to talk to who could identify with what I was going through. I realize sometimes none of this is enough and the last thing people want to hear is life will get better in 4 years when they leave high school. But, the rest of us who have been through similar situations can at least try to reach out, share stories, be mentors, and, try to make a difference for these kids who are in so much pain. They deserved so much more.

I'm glad Perfume Genius made it to the other side, and, I hope he feels like life is slowly getting better one song at a time.

Perfume Genius - Mr. Peterson

Perfume Genius - No Problem

Perfume Genius - Gay Angels

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