New King Princess Release ‘Ohio’ Out Today
By DAN MACINTOSH
King Princess has received about as much attention for her genderqueer image (complete with a striking album photo for her Cheap Queen album release), as she has for her music.
Her rise to fame may remind you of Lady Gaga’s early career, where that artist’s outrageous images far too often outweighed her music — music which was quite good. One doesn’t get signed to Mark Ronson’s Zelig Records label, as has King Princess, without also having true talent. Make no mistake about it, King Princess is super talented.
King Princess sold out two consecutive nights at The Wiltern and performed for an extremely excited audience that was mainly comprised of young women. These fans sang along loudly to every song, even though King Princess hasn’t yet attained a whole lot of radio airplay.
Once you get past her well-publicized image assault, though, you find King Princess is actually a fairly straightforward singer/songwriter. Sure, a song title like “Pussy Is God” will push a lot of conservative folks’ hot buttons, but one of the best moments during her strong set was a song called “Tough On Myself.” Its message about how we sometimes can be our own worst critic, is a sentiment all of us can relate to – not just King Princess’s largely LGBTQ contingent.
Furthermore, King Princess is also a talented musician. She opened the show with “Isabel’s Moment” accompanying herself on piano, and later switched to electric guitar, where she took lead solos and didn’t just play simple rhythmic chords. It was also easy to see some reasons why Harry Styles has taken a liking to her music, as she sounds to be inspired by many of the same musical sources. She may be a new artist, but her songs oftentimes take on a ’70s classic rock feel. At heart, King Princess is a singer-songwriter – only she’s not singing about the sorts of subjects that, say, James Taylor and the like included in their songs.
Kilo Kish opened the show, and clearly suffered from having just electronic keyboard accompaniment. Although she is an engaging performer, the music quickly took on a sameness, and no amount of enthusiastic dancing could overcome that.
Although a duets album with the mainstream crooner Tony Bennett may not be in the cards for King Princess, don’t be surprised if she becomes a household name and a mainstream star soon. In the end, it will be her songs, not merely her image, which will endear her to many.