Song of the Day, March 18: Queen by Perfume Genius

PerfumeGeniusQueenToday’s song is Queen by Perfume Genius. After two albums — the fragile Learning and the brilliant, quietly bold Put Your Back N 2 It — Mike Hadreas pulled out all the stops for his third effort. Too Bright is an apt title, as his bold efforts to diversify his smart, minimalist sound sometimes flare a bit strongly, but the many moments that work show his growth and musical power. The highlight is Queen, a clear statement of independence and a proud testament to the enduring strength of the gay community.

Hadreas celebrates and debunks gay stereotypes with equal vigor, emphasizing the complex humanity of every individual and the perils of putting people in boxes. He also provides a clear sense of pride in the rich history of gay culture. The accompanying video is that rare clip that enhances the message, with drag queens, gym bunnies, muscle men, and other stock figures claiming their power. It’s also a musical powerhouse, with eerie synths laid over a strong backbeat. Hadreas is in fine voice, providing one of his strongest vocals while maintaining just enough of the fragility that makes his singing distinctive. It’s a perfect blend, well suited to the tone of the song.

The lyric is also smartly self-referential. Hadreas faced some hypocritical censorship of an advertisement for a clip from his second album. The brief promo showed him in the embrace of another man, both of them scantily clad. YouTube refused to stream the ad, claiming that it was not “Family Safe”; it’s hard to imagine that a similar clip with a straight couple would have received the same treatment. Making the most of that incident, Hadreas boldly proclaims

No family is safe
As I sashay!

Bitter, smart, ironic, and just angry enough, it’s a perfect line for the dynamic Queen to offer as he makes his statement of purpose. Enjoy this amazing song today.


About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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