King Princess’s album promo video for Cheap Queen is pure satire. King Princess is in drag as she goes off into crisp banter with comedian Kate Berlant. The promo masterfully captures the intersection between women being clever and being sexy, the perfect introduction to the focal points of King Princess’s debut album.
The album promo, along with cover art that features King Princess in a burlesque-inspired outfit, immerses fans in the wonderful, underrepresented space of women being exceedingly funny without being labeled as annoying or trying to get in your bed. Burlesque, according to Wikipedia, is work “intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works. ” It has always been controversial, especially with its connection to strip clubs. With one quick Google search you can find an article titled, “Is Burlesque empowering or demeaning for women?” King Princess takes any notion of this condescension to those involved with burlesque and reverts it with Cheap Queen. The debut album is literally a vintage-inspired, empowering strip tease that sits at the intersection of comedy, sexiness and class.
Among the satire in the album promo, King Princess weaves in small, quotable odes to the energy that guided this break-up album. At one moment she stares stone-cold at Kate Berlant to say, “Do you like my leg hair through the fish nets?” The next moment she acknowledges the liberating space she creates for her fans: “To see that my concerts like provide this space for young queer kids. Especially for dykes, it’s like, there has to be some sort of kind of haven to fucking rage. There’s something church-like about it.”
Sexiness through mockery is completely authentic to Mikaela Straus (the real name behind King Princess). Watch any interview and you feel your panties drop while she mocks herself or boring music. In this way, her debut Cheap Queen feels completely authentic. She’s vulnerable in her authenticity and sadness, and that’s at the forefront of this debut. With Cheap Queen, King Princess takes the pressure away from being a hyper-feminine Instagram baddie and instead grasps the sexiness that lies in comedy and humility. It’s a lesbian heart-break album that crushes and empowers its listeners simultaneously.
This retro, going-backwards-to-move-forward sort of female empowerment is woven throughout the listening experience of each track. Most notably, the title track “Cheap Queen” incorporates audio from an old-timey female movie, woefully spilling lyrics in the background like: “Smiling for the audience” or “cheap queen.”
One of my favorite tracks is “Hit The Back,” a dance track that’s clear and direct about exactly what her lover is missing now that they’re no longer together: “Ain’t I the best you had, and I let you throw it down, hit the back.” The Playboy School of Pop video that’s set to the tune of “Hit The Back” is even better; it displays King Princess dressing as a hot version of every high school trope, from cheerleader to basketball player. She’s anything she wants to be. She liberates her fans to feel the same.
King Princess’s journey started when she exploded onto the scene after Harry Styles tweeted about her hit single “1950.” Now only 20 years old, she’s on the rise, making music for “the queer kids in the front,” as she says. In the music video for “1950,” she rocked a small drawn-on mustache. Now, for Cheap Queen, she draws on fully arched eyebrows in full glam. She’s exactly what pop needs — she exists in a space that’s undefined and sexy as hell. King Princess writes catchy love struck tunes to female lovers. She’s always specific, always daring and never holds back. Fall on your knees, the reign of King Princess is here.