Perfume Genius is Mike Hadreas, a Seattle songwriter whose jarring 2010 debut album, Learning, established him as one of the most singular songwriters today. Learning was described as “an album of rare, redemptive beauty…one of the most uniquely endearing and quietly forceful debut albums of recent years” by Drowned in Sound. Learning sprang from a time of self-imposed isolation in his mother’s suburban home following a period of trauma and self-destruction. The album was mastered from second-generation MP3s, as Hadreas had lost the original recordings. This distant, abraded sound reinforces its harrowing tales and haunting melodies.
Though Learning’s voyeuristic window into Hadreas’s experiences resonated intensely with the public, his most recent album, Put Your Back N 2 It, is more universal, addressing intimacy, power, family, secrecy, and hope not just through his impressionistic lyrics, but also through the music itself, which is as lush as Learning was stark. “I don’t want it to seem like I’ve been through more than other people,” Hadreas says. “Everyone has stuff. Staying healthy can be more depressing and confusing than being fucked up. But I want to make music that’s honest and hopeful.”