By: Sylvie Xu
Photo Courtesy of: “Cheap Queen” Music Video
King Princess released her second album titled “Cheap Queen” on Oct. 25. Compared to her previous album “Make My Bed,” which only had five songs, her latest album contains 13 tracks. On the cover of the album, King Princess embraces drag culture by appearing with her face done up in full drag queen makeup.
While King Princess’s previous album “Make My Bed” mainly featured soft pop, she takes on a more slick, laid-back and groovy musical style in her new album. All 13 tracks demonstrate her mastery and unique style of sampling and sound mixing by incorporating jazz elements such as the vibraphone and the use of special effects over her voice. King Princess successfully strikes a delicate balance between auto-tuning for the purpose of embellishing and still preserving the raw originality of her own voice.
The album kicks off with her first song “Tough On Myself,” which is a tasty concoction of synthetic chords and modern funk that is coupled with King Princess’s sandy voice. This opening song showcases a brand new style of music to the listener. During lengthy parts of the song when she is not singing, King Princess keeps her audience engaged with stylish musical phrases that complement the main melody of the song. Not only is the music masterfully composed, her lyrics are even more so, “I get too tough on myself / Sitting alone, making fun of myself / And is it so wrong to just want someone else?” Short yet impactful, the lyrics empathize with listeners on the bittersweetness of young love.
Another noteworthy song is “Cheap Queen,” which was released in May as the lead single of the album. “Cheap Queen” is a solid embodiment of the album as a whole through its skillful incorporation of old styles that consist of mainly calm pop that resembles R&B and new styles that are more melancholic and funky. This incorporation of both styles define King Princess’s current music. The lyrics of “Cheap Queen” — “I’m a cheap queen … I’m a real queen / I can make grown men cry” — complement the album cover by delivering powerful messages of self-empowerment. This message is not just directed toward women, but anyone who is a “queen,” including the queer community, which King Princess has demonstrated strong support for.
In 13 songs, King Princess takes her listeners on a euphoric journey starting from youthful love to lust and heartbreak. The album ends with “If You Think it’s Love,” which, compared to all the songs that preceded it, is more of a wistful ballad. In her last song, she abandons all her musical embellishments and mainly features her voice, with occasional soft and simple background music as an accompaniment — an unexpected and thoughtful end to a great album.
King Princess is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with in the music industry and a powerful icon for the queer community. Despite being only 20 years old, she possesses the voice of timeless soul and a mind of great musical brilliance. Her latest album “Cheap Queen” has demonstrated not only her unique voice, but also her complete mastery over music production. With the release of “Cheap Queen,” King Princess leaves her mark upon the music industry, alongside artists such as Maggie Rogers and Billie Eilish, as the future of pop.