King Princess – Cheap Queen (2019) [Deluxe Edition 2020]
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/48 kHz | Time – 55:25 minutes | 671 MB | Genre: Pop
Studio Master Re-encoded – Source “24-96” files | Artwork: Front cover | © Columbia Records – Zelig Records, LLC.
“Cheap Queen” is the debut studio album by American singer-songwriter King Princess, originally released on October 25, 2019, through Mark Ronson’s imprint of Columbia Records, Zelig Records. The album was written chronologically, with Straus stating that she named the album Cheap Queen after the drag term for a queen that is “resourceful, making something out of not very much”. While Straus started her career with songs like “1950” and “Pussy Is God”, The Guardian remarked that she swaps out those “queer pop anthems for understated ballads”. This deluxe edition of the album with five additional tracks was released on February 14, 2020.
The debut album from Brooklyn-bred singer/songwriter Mikaela Mullaney Straus, aka King Princess, 2019’s Cheap Queen, is an intimate, slow-burn production, steeped in echo-chamber R&B and indie rock balladry. The daughter of a recording engineer, Straus grew up in her father’s studio, playing instruments and writing songs from a young age. She famously turned down a record deal at 11 years old, holding out on launching her career until she had complete control of her identity and her sound. That control is palpable on Cheap Queen as Straus offers songs rife with her self-aware swagger and all-encompassing musical identity. Openly gay, Straus subtly deals with themes surrounding gender and sexuality, even as she commands the album with a low-key sensuality that combines masculine hip-hop confidence with a soulful, feminist point-of-view, something she previously explored on non-album singles “1950” and “Pussy Is God.” Perhaps most indicative of this aspect is the title track, a half-lidded drag queen-inspired anthem about resourcefulness and resilience in the face of day-to-day struggles. She sings “I’ve been alright/I’ve just been doing the same shit I’ve always liked/Like smoking and movies and homies who bring me wine/I’ve been going out too much/Been talking ’bout myself too much/Oh, I can be good sometimes/I’m a cheap queen/I can be what you like and I can be bad sometimes/I’m a real queen.” The song’s chorus has a supple, hypnotic flow that brings to mind Prince, whose own spiritualized pop-androgyny colors much of Straus’ work. There are other iconic influences at play elsewhere as Straus draws upon Vauxhall and I-era Morrissey on the breezy “Ain’t Together.” Similarly, the blue hues of her richly atmospheric “Homegirl” bring to mind the ’60s-inspired work of Richard Hawley, while the groove-oriented “Hit the Back” (one of the few upbeat dance songs on the album) somehow cannily evokes both Lily Allen and Madonna without sounding exactly like either. Instrumentally, there are plenty of synths here, along with real and electronic beats, and an equal amount of analog and post-studio effects. Nonetheless, it never feels overly produced, allowing Straus’ voice (a dusky, throaty coo she frames in falsetto asides and harmonized backing melodies) to grab the spotlight. Along with her pop hooks, what makes Straus’ music so indelible on Cheap Queen is her strong sense of self. As King Princess, Straus is both the chilled-out R&B loverman and genderqueer lesbian songwriter, a tangible combination that’s anything but cheap, and always real.
01 – Tough On Myself
02 – Useless Phrases
03 – Cheap Queen
04 – Ain’t Together
05 – Do You Wanna See Me Crying?
06 – Homegirl
07 – Prophet
08 – Isabel’s Moment
09 – Trust Nobody
10 – Watching My Phone
11 – You Destroyed My Heart
12 – Hit the Back
13 – If You Think It’s Love
14 – Back of a Cab [Bonus Track]
15 – All Dressed In White [Bonus Track]
16 – Forget About It [Bonus Track]
17 – Best Friend [Bonus Track]
18 – Ohio [Bonus Track]
Please note: Here’s carefully processed to 24/48 files. Dynamic Range & peak level keep the same.