King Princess burst onto the scene in 2018 with singles “1950” and “Pussy is God”, which unambiguously rejected heteronormative sexuality in a pop packaging, as in the line, “I hate it when men try to chase me”.
The newly minted queer young icon releases her debut album Cheap Queen to much anticipation. Now 20 years old, the title and cover photo where her face is painted like a drag queen are nods to a lineage of underground LGBTQ+ culture.
The debut album is more interesting as a window into King Princess’s emotional exploration than musical journey.
It is a negotiation of a relationship and break-up tracking emotional lows and highs as well as confusions: “It isn’t clear how we feel when we spend all this time with each other.”
The album has a confessional edge that swings between swaggering confidence, as in “I can make grown men cry”, and vulnerability: “I can’t be the million girls you’re going to meet”, but lacks the wry humour of her debut.
The emotional honesty is refreshing if the musical stylings aren’t. Chill vibes emanate through very light musical flourishes and laid-back detached vocals but the emotions don’t connect.