King Princess – Cheap Queen

Arresting vocals, with an openness to match…

Rising star 20-year-old King Princess – born Mikaela Straus – has vocals that are arresting, with an openness to match.

Her debut single from last year’s ‘1950s’  – in which she established herself as a queer artist – was a storming streaming success, her modern romantic anthem going viral as she sang, “I like it when we play 1950 / So bold, make them know that you're with me.”  Riding the hype around this she then on to work with Mark Ronson on his ‘Late Night Feelings’ album – sealing her arrival as full-fledged pop star.

Now she’s released her debut LP, showing the world what a full length King Princess project feels like. Opening track ‘Tough On Myself’ begins synth-heavy, immediately showcasing the artist’s soothing vocals before hazy guitar kicks in. It’s quite a seductive song – apt for someone who wears their sexuality on their sleeve – as she ponders, “And is it so wrong to just want someone else? And is it so wrong to just want someone else?” It feels fitting that King Princess chose this as the record’s first track

‘Homegirl’ has a Lana-esque ‘50’s vibe, and is both touching and intimate. “They stare when you walk in the room like they’re looking at heaven,” King Princess beguiles, with a breathy husky vocal performance.

‘Prophet’ is captivating (“I can only think about you”). ‘You Destroyed My Heart’ is honest – bringing the vulnerability that’s earned King Princess comparisons to the likes of Lorde – and slightly scathing, with the blunt ”Now I want somebody good.” While ‘If This Is Love’is equaly attention-grabbing showcasing her dulcet tones.

King Princess’ work is arrestingly transgressive because of how comfortable she is with her sexuality. Now she’s releasing full-length projects, we’d all better get just as comfortable with it, and fast.


Words: Narzra Ahmed

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