So many songs of self-empowerment are based on the belittling notion of self-pity. From the time…
So many songs concerned with self-empowerment are based on the belittling notion of self-pity. From the time Christina Aguilera told gay boys, fat girls and listless agoraphobes alike that they were beautiful in every single way, the idea has been to normalise, level and subsume the outsider. Mike Hadreas knows that well. As Perfume Genius he had constructed painful and dark forays into his homosexuality, childhood abuse and broken relationships.
On his stunning new single, ‘Queen’ off his new album, Too Bright, Hadreas knows the self-pity train is over. He is no longer directing his pain inward but outward to a scared, hypocritical and unaccepting society. Hadreas describes the song as a reflection on the ‘gay panic’ and how his outsider status still seems to threaten people around him. He states, “If these fucking people want to give me some power – if they see me as some sea witch with penis tentacles that are always prodding and poking and seeking to convert the muggles – well, here she comes”.
Over stately piano, evoking Bowie, McCartney and Queen themselves, and then modernised with grinding and billowing synths he does just that as he proclaims, “no family is safe when I sashay”. This is no ‘Same Love’, no cutesy coming-of-age story, it’s someone embracing their identity and realising the power that rare self-acceptance wields.