Through personal lyrics and experimental, full production, King Princess, born Mikaela Mullaney Straus, ushers herself into a new era with her debut album “Cheap Queen,” released Oct. 25.
“Cheap Queen” expresses an array of feelings experienced during heartbreak, using lyrics throughout this album that allow LGBTQ people to listen to stories they can relate to and love ballads I felt were honest and real.
As someone who identifies as heterosexual, listening to this album made me excited to hear music that talked about lesbian relationships while still being able to relate to feelings King Princess experienced in the heartbreak. I would definitely listen to this album again when feeling sad in a relationship or just when life feels right.
The musicality within the 13 songs on “Cheap Queen” varies between upbeat drums to acoustic guitar, providing a wide tonality of music that keeps it from sounding repetitive, mainstream or radio-inspired such as Taylor Swift’s pop album “Lover,” released Aug. 23.
In the first song off the album, “Tough On Myself,” King Princess crafts a dark atmosphere through layered heavy bass lines that made me feel the loneliness she conveyed. This contrasts a personal favorite, “Hit The Back,” which is a feel-good pop song that left me feeling pumped and confident.
In “If You Think It’s Love,” King Princess lyrically describes the transition she’s experienced, “I’m second guessing all the things I used to want to be,” paired with a slow minimal beat.
The slow pace in “Homegirl” creates a gloomy yet romantic tone that feels inspired by Lana Del Rey. In the song’s lyrics, “We’re friends at the party / I’ll give you my body at home,” King Princess speaks on a longing for dating someone, but knowing it won’t ever be a public relationship.
Aside from “Hit The Back,” tracks such as “Useless Phases,” “Trust Nobody” and “You Destroyed My Heart” are the most upbeat and positive on the album.
The title song, “Cheap Queen” leads with monotone vocals that transitions into an intricate beat during the chorus. The beginning of “Ain't Together,” feels very similar to “Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star, both leading with strong yet calm guitar strums that create a nostalgic feel.
The bulk of “Cheap Queen” is relaxed, using calm vocals throughout the majority of the songs, each accompanied by a bold chorus, which gave the album life.
King Princess shows maturity with this album by using honest lyrics that provide an overall artistic expression of heartbreak — an experience many listeners can relate to. I enjoyed the album and think just about anyone who listens to it would be able to find one song they either identify with or just enjoy listening to.