5 out of 5 stars
Third studio album by Mike Hadreas, who uses the excellent stage name Perfume Genius.
Perfume Genius’ first two albums are lo-fi, thin, delicate recordings which, while good, are not albums I’m likely to ever own. Too Bright is a different beast altogether. It’s amazing. I’m hard pressed to think of other artists who succeeded in such an impressive leap in style between albums.
The best way to describe Too Bright is in attributes: beautiful, haunting, sincere. Accessible yet entirely unique. Some of the tracks are intimate and piano-driven, others are forceful, driving electronica. It all deftly fits together, somehow.
Heartbreaking lyrics mixed with fascinatingly cryptic ones. Interesting chord choices/resolutions. (“All Along” and “No Good” make very cool melodic shifts that elevate them from good to absolutely striking.) The simple riff in “Queen” will dig into your brain. The first time I heard “Fool” I had to stop everything I was doing and immediately put it on again.
Consume Too Bright as a single unit, in order, instead of piecemeal purchasing tracks.
(My one complaint: I usually skip the track “I’m a Mother.” It doesn’t have a melodic center and the vocals are jarring and unfocused.)
Standout Track: I can’t narrow it down. To get a feel for what you’re getting into, you could start with “Queen” and “Fool,” but “No Good,” “Too Bright,” and “All Along” are also incredible. Five of the six remaining songs are above average. This is one of the best albums of the last twenty years.