In 2018, King Princess exposed her story to the world with one of the most refreshing gifts music's received in recent years, her debut EP, Make My Bed. The project's standouts, like "Holy" and "1950," garnered mass attention and fandom from not only the public, but also powerhouse mainstream artists. Now, stans are waiting patiently for her next move — hopefully an album.
So, if you've been parched for a new King Princess track since last fall's "Pussy Is God," then get ready for a rehydration like no other. The newly christened pop ruler is gracing fans with an proud declaration: she's a real "Cheap Queen."
While I must admit I'm a little upset that she's used the title of my potential memoir for the single, the track is so good that I'm willing to come up with something else. "Cheap Queen" has all the reverberating ease of a typical KP track, but with a handful of vocal samples ("Smiling for the audience," "How did I do it?") that clog and fill the kick drums and keystrokes. The song comes from the same camp of "Pussy Is God" in terms of production, but the lyrics are a bit more understated and vague.
"Cheap Queen" is definitely not her most intimate track — songs like "Upper West Side" tell a clearly constructed, even chronological narrative — but it is one of her most jovial. It seems as if the unrequited love, heartbreak, and frustration in her world has settled into a manageable undercurrent.
She begins the track with a simple confirmation of this calmness: "I've been alright." In a very hyperreal 2019, in which Gen Z-ers are struggling with intimacy and relationships, this is the extent to which one can be content. After "alright" comes acceptance, but it's a difficult jump to bridge. "I can be good sometimes/ I'm a cheap quee / I can be what you like," she proclaims, circling a drain of self actualization, an awareness of her relationships, and a desire to be understood.
Even the cover art settles between these emotions. She lays cooly, her upper chest exposed and hair trained to her clavicle, as if she's a young Cindy Crawford on the cover of a magazine. This is elevated, however, by a campy makeup look from some pre-Drag Race era, characterized by paper-thin brows and a beauty mark above pouty red lips.
Hopefully "Cheap Queen" is the first of many new King Princess tracks leading up to an official album release, but regardless, fans won't have to wait for new material for long. "Pieces of Us," her track with Mark Ronson, is slated for release on his upcoming album Late Night Feelings, on June 21. Rejoice!
Photo courtesy of King Princess