perfume genius

from Learning (2010)

MY TAKE: Bedroom as confessional is a hazard of modern recording technology. Teenagers have so much to say and so little skill to say it that the interwebs are cluttered with self-indulgent music and video, making it hard to spot the real artists who otherwise fit the profile. Perfume Genius (Seattle’s Mike Hadreas) is just such a young man. His debut, Learning, raises the bar for lo-fi teen confessionals so high, very very few will ever reach it. He may not again, even. It’s sparse, it’s dark and it pulls no punches.

In Mr. Peterson, a defining track, he introduces us to the teacher who seduced him and then killed himself. There’s nowhere to hide in a song like that for either the singer or the listener. It could go so wrong in any number of ways for even the most veteran of artists, yet Mr. Genius gets the tone perfect with apparent effortless ease. If he has enough stories, he’ll be around for awhile.