Laden with lush instrumentals and King Princess ' vocal delivery as chameleon-versatile as ever, we're taken on a ride through her psyche that's strikingly vulnerable: a new side to the unshakable cool of her debut. Where Cheap Queen felt very intentional and thematically focussed, Hold On Baby almost feels inherently exploratory by comparison, despite the fact that it's one-track in the same way - but it never feels repetitive. It's more like a therapy session that goes round in circles looking for answers in different places and eventually, finally settling.
One of pop's most idiosyncratic talents returns with a low-key, restrained yet lucid work King Princess is an artist at the vanguard of a new generation of alternative pop stars operating in ostensibly pure pop lanes but doing so in their own idiosyncratic style. On her second album Hold On Baby, Brooklyn based alt pop icon Mikaela Straus carries on melding her songcraft to experimental stylings. There's always been an elusive and mysterious quality to King Princess' music, a sense that it can go in any direction.
Since King Princess debuted in 2018, she has come to represent a new breed of pop star. Hyperfemininity has given way to explorations of gender and androgyny. A preference for more natural voices has replaced crystalline, AutoTuned vocals. King Princess (the stage name of Brooklyn's Mikaela Straus), in many ways, is the anti-pop star.
King Princess is laying it all bare on her sophomore release; refusing to adhere to the realms of cookie-cutter indie-pop, 'Hold On Baby's tender instrumentals and pulsing dance beats perfectly capture the confusion, euphoria and frustration that comes with being human. It's a release that refuses to drown in its sultry self-pity, but still honours it – resulting in a cathartic, immensely intimate confessional piece. Opening track 'I Hate Myself, I Want To Party' immediately sets the tone; its gentle soundscaping and honest lyrics welcome you into Mikaela Straus' mind, serving as a blessing, a confirmation that it's okay to take a peek behind the curtains.