Originally sung by Bobby Darin and released in 1960, Perfume Genius covers this song and completely changes its meaning. The original song was almost flamenco-like in its instrumentation and Bobby Darin’s inflection. It’s treated as nothing more than a song intended to top the charts and put money in his pocket.
Perfume Genius takes the song and completely changes the meaning. They give it a slow, and almost menacing tone. The first verse hits and is immediately followed with a subtle percussive flourish. “Ballads are being sung / but not for me / church bells are being rung / but not for me”. Perfume Genius takes the lyrics and exposes how raw they can be in the right context.
In an interview with Pitchfork, Perfume Genius stated “I feel like I could sing this and not have it be the way he intended. It sounds more like an outsider-y type thing to me. Like when you go to church and you feel like all the things that people are doing there don’t include you, or how all the love songs are not for the kind of love you have. I don’t think that was what he was intending, but it’s what I heard when I first heard that song.” This song is about being on the outside and looking in, and Perfume Genius has done a wonderful job turning it into something more meaningful than intended.
Photo from CBS Photo Archive