When I recently met Perfume Genius (Mike Hadreas) to talk about his just-released fourth album, No Shape, he told me a bit about the upcoming video release for the track, “Die 4 You.” Hadreas mentioned that it would be darker than the first he released off the album, the edenic “Slip Away,” which sees him jumping through fields and sharing apples with a dance partner while vaguely Trumpian demons chase them and threaten to burn their paradise. (Not exactly the lightest video, but coming after Perfume Genius’ beautifully alienating Too Bright, it certainly had an unexpected levity.) Now, his “Die 4 You” video has been released; it’s a gorgeous mix of dreamy sensuousness and the embrace of the grotesque theater of the human body.
Here, Hadreas dances on a chair the stage of an abandoned theater, alternating between a magically both sleeveless and very sleeved (just look!) outfit and a latex tank top/tasseled skirt ensemble, his gyrations a bit longing, a bit melancholy, yet also infused with some trademark wryness. Oh, and the dance he’s performing, it’s important to mention, is for a mound of flesh that looks kind of like the oversized futuristic pudding in Sleeper… or any creature Jesse Kanda’s ever envisioned for Arca. (This video, however, was directed by frequent Bowie/Sigur Ros collaborator/The Runaways director Floria Sigismondi.) He and the flesh mound begin the video far removed from one another, but by the end Hadreas and Mound slowly unite. And descriptions be damned — in watching it you’ll actually see how perfectly it uses moody surrealism to make something endlessly beguiling and emotionally weighty. The fact that the song itself is an exemplar of both of those things certainly helps.
Hadreas recently spoke to The Fader about how the track uses erotic asphyxiation as a “metaphor for giving all of yourself to someone else. You can push it so far that I might even die and that would be OK.”
Watch the music video: