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Song Stories

“Mr. Peterson”

Perfume Genius | 2010

Learning, the debut album by Mike Hadreas, a.k.a. Perfume Genius, was filled with personal dirges, including an eponymous song about smoking weed with a high school educator named Mr. Peterson, who later committed suicide. "It is about a teacher I had in freshman year," Hadreas said. "I hadn't thought about what went down for a while. I hadn't thought about a f---ing actual thing in a while. But I got flooded, that song came out." Despite extracting from his real-life experiences, Hadreas said, "to word-by-word take everything literally, I'd suppose would be a mistake."

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Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

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