Fueled by the meteoric rise and lasting visibility of queer pop stars like Troye Sivan, Hayley Kiyoko, Janelle Monaé, Kim Petras, Kehlani, and many more, 2018 has been the year of queer teen anthems. And 19-year-old songwriter, producer, and instrumentalist King Princess fits right in with her April EP Make My Bed, featuring certified sad bop, “Talia.”
If you’re a true sucker for Janelle Monae-inspired bisexual lighting, you’ll love the “Talia” music video. Featuring an inanimate, imagined doll lover, King Princess’ lyrics sound like equal parts club anthem and heartsick drunk ballad: “But four drinks I’m wasted/I can see you dancing, I can lay down next to you/At the foot of my bed/If I drink enough/I can taste your lipstick, I can lay down next to you/But it’s all in my head/If I drink enough I swear that I will wake up next to you.”
Pitchfork’s review aptly compared “Talia” to Lorde’s “Royals,” calling it “about as close to perfect as a pop song can get.” And it’s a solid comparision—King Princess’ husky, bluesy vocals float over sparse drums, snaps, and a recurring chorus of wistful “oohs.” If you spent the majority of last summer obsessing over the lyrics and meditative mood of Melodrama you’ll be into Make My Bed.
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King Princess, also known IRL as Mikaela Straus, is also one for hiding historical context behind universal lyrics. Her debut single, “1950” was released in March 2018. In an interview for i-D, Straus said the song was inspired by Patricia Highsmith’s The Price Of Salt, one of her favorite books. “Historically a publicly unaccepted but incredibly rich culture, queer love was only able to exist privately for a long time, expressed in society through coded art forms,” she told i-D. “I wrote this song as a story of unrequited love in my own life, doing my best to acknowledge and pay homage to that part of history.”
BONUS: If you are any brand of St. Vincent stan (I can boast a full St. Vincent shrine in my own living room) and want to completely lose it, please direct your attention to a brief video of King Princess in conversation with St. Vincent at this year’s ASCAP “I Create Music” expo. You only get a tiny snippet of their talk here, but it’s enough to turn you into a fangirl.
Teen Bop of the Week is a weekly column that recognizes not only the songs that pay homage to teen-dom but songs by top up-and-coming artists who either are teens themselves or deliver certified bops to a teen audience. According to Urban Dictionary, “a bop” refers to “a song that will always be good, legendary.” However, it must be noted that not *all* good or legendary songs are designated bops. There has been much contention on the internet about what qualifies a song as a true, indisputable bop. Is it the hook, beat, or drop? Or the degree to which you can throw a** and scream? Who’s to say! The anatomy of a bop will always be hotly debated, but they deserve to be blasted on repeat every day of the week. Kindly turn up the volume and gird your loins.