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Perfume Genius – “Die 4 You” (Singles Going Steady)

Over a deceptively simple, crepuscular backing Perfume Genius' gorgeous world-weary vocals sketch a song so heartbreakingly fragile it sounds like it could shatter at any moment.

Adriane Pontecorvo: “Die 4 You” is a collection of contradictions. Airy, yet anchored. It flows, but it bounces. It’s the non-Newtonian fluid of indie pop, a liquid and a solid, and that unpredictability fascinates. Perfume Genius takes his cues here from trip-hop and quiet storm but never lets a single category hold the song hostage. It’s a sublime balancing act between the ethereal and the sensual, with a surreal video suitably vivid for one of the strongest tracks on album No Shape. Perfume Genius is an artist with incredible artistic depth, and “Die 4 You” shows a tantalizing slice of it. [8/10]

Paul Carr: Over a deceptively simple, crepuscular backing Perfume Genius’ gorgeous world-weary vocals sketch a song so heartbreakingly fragile it sounds like it could shatter at any moment. It’s the equivalent of taking a walk along a puddled strewn street as the dark clouds remorselessly spill unceasing streams of rain down on you. Before the song crumbles under its emotional weight, the song takes a jazzier turn as the clouds lift enough for his exposed heart to dry off a little. A hopeful ending to a song that stands as one of his most well-rounded and evocative to date. [8/10]

Mike Schiller: The first couple of minutes of “Die 4 You” evoke Portishead’s classic “Roads”, all trembling minor-key keyboards and whispered high-pitched vocals. The last couple minutes are something closer to a classic R&B slow jam, something like a Sadé song through a slightly skewed lens. Apparently, it’s about erotic asphyxiation, which lends a vaguely sinister (or, at least, dangerously exotic) bent to the proceedings, a feeling exacerbated by what appears to be a literal pile of flesh being seduced in the video. The whole thing just feels a little off, like it’s designed to make you uncomfortable, but that only adds to the intrigue of what is at heart a beautiful, beautiful song. [9/10]

Steve Horowitz: Let me whisper in your ear. Say the syllables and the inflections with a catch in my voice. Offer my naked emotions and bare my sympathy. If we can do this slowly. Who needs a beat? If we can just work on the knife’s edge. The darkness hushes around us. Lovely. [8/10]

SCORE: 8.25

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