Perfume Genius shared his shimmering fifth studio album Set My Heart On Fire Immediately back in May. Since the singer can’t tour behind the release, he’s come up with different ways to stay engaged with his fans. The singer recently stopped by Santa Monica’s KCRW station to perform a few songs with a full band. Along with sharing some originals, the singer gave a moving rendition of Leonard Cohen‘s “Bird On The Wire.”
For his cover, Perfume Genius gave his backup band a break, opting to tackle the song with just his vocals and a piano. “If I could play this cover anywhere, I think I’d want to play it in a big church with a big pipe organ,” he said about the song. “Or, if somehow we could get the pipe organ to a deep, dark cave.”
Before covering “Bird On The Wire,” Perfume Genius gave a rendtion of his Set My Heart On Fire Immediately tracks “On The Floor” and “Jason.” Providing context to his music, the singer said: “I wrote ‘On The Floor’ about the idea of a crush, and how when it becomes desperate and obsessive, it can turn into this thing that lives on its own separate from you and almost detached from the person you care about,” he said. “Its own weird world with fictions and ideas all swirling around, and how it can be like a plague on you, and really taxing.”
In other Cohen news, the singer’s estate may sue the Republican National Convention over the use of his song “Hallelujah.” When the RNC reached out to Cohen’s label and his estate, they both promptly denied the request to use the song. But the RNC went ahead with it anyway, playing two covers of the track, which Cohen’s estate still owns the rights to. The family’s legal representative said they were “surprised and dismayed that the RNC would proceed knowing that the Cohen Estate had specifically declined the RNC’s use request, and their rather brazen attempt to politicize and exploit in such an egregious manner ‘Hallelujah’, one of the most important songs in the Cohen song catalogue.”
Listen to Perfume Genius sing “On The Floor,” “Jason,” and Leonard Cohen’s “Bird On The Wire” above.
Set My Heart On Fire Immediately is out now via Matador. Get it here.