Brooklyn’s own pop sensation, King Princess, bares all on their second studio album Hold On Baby.
Hold On Baby is yet another example of the animated artistry which they continuously deliver to their adoring fanbase. Whilst giving them a satisfying taste inside the intricate mind of Mikaela Straus, aka King Princess, they have always made music that speaks directly to the youth of today.
The record bleeds lovesick narratives in true King Princess fashion, as they continue to act as a beacon of light amongst a host of artists recounting the highs and lows that come with the queer experience today.
Initially coming onto the scene in 2018 with their knockout single ‘1950,’ King Princess hooked teenagers across Europe and The US with their gripping, relatable lyricism, and catchy Pop sound. Their music specifically captured the attention of the young-queer community, for they have always spoken openly about their sexuality and gender expression both in their music and outside of it. This rich sense of identity has always been at the forefront of Straus’ creative and artistic expression, which directly aligns with the age-old Pop genre and its innate queerness.
Cheap Queen, their debut record released in 2019 received an abundance of critical acclaim and support, solidifying their position in the realm of socially and politically-engaged Pop music.
In essence Hold On Baby, is a 12-track alternative-pop album exploring social complexities faced in the modern age. It is an honest delve into the mind, the body, and all the multifaceted emotions that run through the two.
It feels rather like a continuation from their debut, Cheap Queen, in that they are still navigating similar concepts today. In particular, the societal construction of gender and the fluidity in femininity and masculinity and the way it’s presented. Having played with this concept in Cheap Queen, using both androgynous and hyper-feminine tropes to rid themselves of the binary, it’s something that is central to the King Princess experience. Hold On Baby further feeds into this enlightened idea of not being just one thing.
I am beyond proud of this work and this crazy, f***ed up, amazing life I live. I love you all and when it gets tough remind yourself to hold on babyKing Princess
The well-crafted, alt-pop sound we hear on this record features King Princess’ renowned soft vocals and powerful electric guitar and drum pairing. Co-produced by several industry greats, King Princess and good friend Mark Ronson headed production, and in turn, created a project that lives up to all expectations made since the release of Cheap Queen.
Themes of love, sex, and relationships are something that heavily plays a part in Straus’ artistic expression. However, this time round they explore this arena from the perspective of a long-term relationship with girlfriend Quinn Wilson, rather than from the view of heartbreak. Mikaela described the record on a recent TikTok as ‘A love letter to my girlfriend.’
Quinn, Quinn, Quinn, Oh Quinn, I love you, I feel it in seasons, I’m always thinking, thinking, thinking of youKing Princess- Winter is Hopeful
Despite the beautiful portrayal of their love throughout the record, King Princess shows the reality of all relationships with tracks like ‘Change the Locks.’ From the explosive, climactic drums to its clever lyricism, it discloses that everything is not always smooth sailing, especially during a pandemic when you resort to ‘changing the locks on your heart ’cause you’re bored.’
Alongside the release of Hold On Baby, King Princess released a striking music video for ‘Let Us Die‘, a stand-out single off the record. The video features RuPaul Drag Race star Gigi Goode and is an overly dramatised re-enactment of the pain induced by heartbreak. In a turn of events, the visualiser is directed by Mikaela’s muse, Quinn Wilson, and is a playful and creative take on this universal feeling which is often taken too seriously.
Since the start of their career, it’s clear that King Princess has blossomed and grown with every new project and opportunity that’s arisen. Visually the use of an owl has featured throughout Hold On Baby’s promotional cycle and the album cover. The owl is claimed to represent Mikaela’s grandparents. This motif proposes that the wisdom they have imparted onto Straus along the way, has brought them to where they are now and what they’ve learned as King Princess.
‘Sex Shop‘ takes us on a quest to find gender euphoria; looking for the thing that makes you feel complete. The song deals with concerns surrounding how your personal change may come to affect the people in your life. It is an honest recount and will be sure to act as a point of relation for many within their demographic. Further, the record explores the anxieties and depression that come from being at war with your own self and biology in ‘I Hate Myself, I Wanna Party‘.
‘It can be both beautiful and complicated to confront your gender while in a relationship’King Princess