…And I Will Pray, If You Go Back Out There
A Retrospective on Perfume Genius’ Put Your Back N 2 It
Do you have a go-to album for whenever you feel like you need reassurance in life? For me, that album is Put Your Back N 2 It by Perfume Genius (real name Mike Hadreas.)
Released 10 years ago, this album shares the same release date as Grime’s masterpiece Visions.
A personal all-time fav that I find super underrated — people don’t get to talk about it that often, unlike his more recent records, or other records that operate in the same vein like Spirit of Eden, Either/Or, Carrie & Lowell, or Punisher.
This album ponders upon trauma and hard subjects. Though it may not be a comforting album that you can put on at any time in the day, it can be therapeutic when you put it at the right time.
It’s a record that offers a shoulder to lean on and a hand to hold on to, but more importantly, it listens.
Mike sounds like a man who either went through a lot or he had witnessed enough. But the way he makes convos over those things is very sympathetic and non-judgmental. His gesture is very affirming.
Like Nick Drake, Cat Power, or Elliott Smith before him, Mike’s music also carry so many wounds. But these wounds are there to be shared with us, to confront us that there’s someone out there who’s going through these things too, that you, we, are not alone.
I love how intimate the recording is, especially on the vocal end. I love how the recording makes us feel like Mike is whispering right into our ears.
The production is pretty minimal and the songs are pretty straightforward, every track here clocks in at no longer than 3 and a half minutes, yet they all carry a heavyweight of emotions.
A few songs here feature big drums, but most of the time it’s just the tender piano (or guitar) and Mike’s fragile voice — sometimes no more than a faint whisper. But the words that he ties with his tongue are potent.
Interestingly, in a press release for the album, Mike said that he was mainly influenced by The Innocence Mission, an underrated indie rock act of the 90’s which I always associate with melancholy and modesty — although the record doesn’t really share the same traits with the band, musically.
My favorite tracks on this album are Normal Song (on Side A), with its redemptive lyrics, and the airy Floating Spit (on Side B), which is probably one of the most comforting songs I’ve heard, like ever.
Put Your Back N 2 It is one of those rare moments in music that reminds me, despite the cruel world that we live in, there’s always hope in every dark corner, there’s still enough love in this world for us to carry on living.
I could write 3000 more words on this album, but I guess I’ll leave it at that.