King Princess | Cheap Queen (Deluxe) | Album Review

Zelig Records
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

After releasing her debut single “1950” just over two years ago in February 2018, singer/songwriter King Princess has continued to build upon her R&B and pop roots with the release of Cheap Queen (Deluxe), her first full-length album.

The deluxe version of the album, which was released four months after the original release in October, features five additional songs, bringing the track total to 18. Overall, King Princess has continued to dwell closer to the melancholy side of things. Song titles like “Tough On Myself,” “Do You Wanna See Me Crying?,” and “You Destroyed My Heart,” immediately signal that, for the most part, the listener is not in store for fun-loving pop songs.

King Princess transitions her brand of melancholic ballads extremely well from EPs to the longer LP format. “Useless Phrases” and “Cheap Queen,” the two lead singles released together, are perhaps the best representation of the album. “Useless Phrases” utilizes upbeat piano, synths, and xylophone  beats to create what feels almost like a children’s song about wanting to get back with an ex. The number then seamlessly transitions into “Cheap Queen,” which has a slow-dance, R&B feel with heavy bass guitar, distorted piano, and lyrics about dealing with depression, heartbreak, and the banality of everyday life. Much of the album follows in the footsteps of these two tracks.

However, numbers like “Hit the Back,” and “Ohio,” which were both added to the deluxe version, do pick things up every once in a while. “Hit the Back,” feels like something that is played at a party. Yes, the lyrics are almost exclusively about sex, and the instrumentation follows suit: a slow piano-led buildup that turns into a beat-driven, synthesizer-infused chorus during which Princess belts out “I’ll let you throw it down / hit the back.”

“Ohio,” on the other hand feels the most disparate from the entire album. It’s a power ballad for sure, with a guitar driving the entire five-minute song. As the closing number, its high energy should lift listeners out of the depths of despair that the album has left them in, making the it (and the LP itself) worth the listen.

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