King Princess Cheap Queen Columbia Records
In an era where artist development seems non- existent, Mikaela Straus is an example of what can be achieved with patience, trust and good genes. Born into the business (her father Oliver Straus is a recording engineer), she was always destined to be music royalty, but her path to becoming the queer pop icon better known as King Princess has been taken in slow, winding strides.
King Princess’ debut album, Cheap Queen, plays out like a cabaret as she builds up the narrative of a young woman deeply invested in the process of figuring herself out as she falls in and out of love. Opening with a suite of soulful, self-reflective confessions – best exemplified on the murky ballad Tough on Myself – we find her sifting through the smoke and cleaning up the mess left behind from a tumultuous heartbreak. Between those bittersweet moments, she reaches a stunning climax as the sonics shift on Prophet, a blues-drenched showtune bubbling hot with seduction.
This exhilaration continues on Trust Nobody, but Hit the Back stands as one of the standout singles with fans hailing it as an “anthem for bottoms.” After all of those titillating moments, she gently closes with If You Think It’s Love. There’s no telling what direction King Princess will head next, but this powerful debut has set her up for a long-lasting reign at the top.