There isn't much plot to Perfume Genius' new music video for "Lookout, Lookout," off his forlorn and lovely Learning -- Patrick Sher directed the clip on location in Portland, and it's as restrained as the song it accompanies. In the video, Mike Hadreas moodily smokes and lounges around the Courtesy Motel. It's a little reminscent of the motel room where Vincent Gallo and Christina Ricci hang around at the end of Buffalo 66 -- gloomy, unattractive. The motel is a little creepy and lends itself well to the song, in which Hadreas ominously sings, "Look out, look out, there are murders about." "Lookout, Lookout" is a striking song on its own, with Hadreas' scraping, wobbling vocals and flowing piano melody; un-distracting understatement was a wise choice for this music video.
Pitchfork premiered "Lookout, Lookout" last week, and today they recognized Perfume Genius in another way.In the unveiling of the first fifty of its Top 100 Tracks of the Year, Pitchfork named Learning's Mr. Peterson #87, saying of the track:
"Mr. Peterson" epitomizes the quiet depth that Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius displayed on his debut album, Learning. Its creaking pedals and thumping keys prime us for the physical intimacies to come. A teenaged narrator gets a romantic note and a Joy Division tape from a teacher, and he smokes weed in his truck. There's only the implication of sex, though clearly a line of authority has been breached. But it's to Hadreas' immense credit that "Mr. Peterson" isn't a didactic message-song. This happened, he says. Make of it what you will. The narrator's apparent indifference leaves us alone with our judgments of each plainspoken revelation. After the teacher's suicide, the masterfully ambiguous closing lines maroon us somewhere between sympathy for the devil and our own sense of moral justice, with a profound respect for Perfume Genius' acute understatement.