By Erin Novakowski, November 5 2019 —
Mikaela Straus, better known by her gender-bending stage name King Princess, has proven that she has no issue tackling a variety of musical genres with ease, class and an overarching attitude of bad-assery. Her ascent to lesbian icon status followed the release of her single “1950,” which was named one of the 50 best songs of 2018 by Billboard. King Princess has since been consistently releasing new music, the most recent being her album Cheap Queen.
King Princess provides upbeat, highly animated songs that lend themselves well to dance parties with friends, such as the title track “Cheap Queen,” and just as masterfully gives us soft, reflective tunes to cry to in the car like “Ain’t Together.” All of her lyrics seem to be largely reflective of her own relationships, translating into a collection of songs that are relatable to the listener. With a voice that can only be described as smooth as hell, King Princess delivers compelling narratives in neatly-wrapped packages that leave us wanting more.
Cheap Queen explores a wide range of music styles in only 13 tracks, offering everything from autotuned synth pop to raw, raspy vocals full of soul — oftentimes both within the same song. There are a few shorter songs that appear almost as placeholders in the album, which seem to lack something when compared to the extended finesse of the more lyrically-developed tracks. These are the handful of songs I wouldn’t add to a playlist, and will likely skip over when listening to the album the whole way through.
Overall, I recommend Cheap Queen if you enjoy pop music, if you have inclinations towards vintage-style vocals or if you’re looking for an artist offering great representations of LGBTQ+ relationships. One thing is for sure — King Princess has raised the bar with this release, and leaves many fans eagerly waiting to see what will come next.