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Perfume Genius. (Courtesy of the artist)

Perfume Genius: A 'Creepy, Beautiful Mix'

by NPR Staff
Dec 26, 2012 (Morning Edition)

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Mike Hadreas describes the sound of Perfume Genius as "that kind of creepy, beautiful mix of things — that warm wash of something that is beautiful, but unsettling at the same time."

A Seattle songwriter, Hadreas writes lyrics that can be hard to hear, with subjects like teen suicide and his own mother's experience with sexual abuse.

"It can be a very lonely thing," Hadreas says. "But I wanted to clap for my mom, I suppose, and just let her know that all that courage is filtered down to me, hopefully. Or at least I admire it a lot."

You could hear Perfume Genius' songs as therapy — Hadreas says that's a legitimate view — but also a call to take people as they are. In the video for "Take Me Home," he plays a male prostitute walking the deserted streets of Seattle's industrial district, with the song offering acceptance and respect.

"I wear heels and a football-jersey dress in the last video, you know," Hadreas says, "and then I'll be at a show and I'll see another boy in a dress or something smiling up at me, and that's part of the reason why I do it."

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