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King Princess: Tiny Desk Concert

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Hazel Cills | November 2, 2022
There is a sly, casual sense of humor that permeates the music of Mikaela Mullaney Straus, who writes and performs as King Princess. Her songs mix the emotions of crushing love and lust with playful asides of self-deprecation, all of which make for a unique, self-assured style. And that self-assuredness is on full display in the indie pop singer's Tiny Desk concert, featuring King Princess performing three songs from her most recent album, Hold On Baby.

Lyrics like, "You look the same. Did you stop smoking weed? Or trying to please your dad?" from the opening "Cursed" — an ode to the difficulties of encountering an old, toxic friend — burn a little brighter in the naked, largely acoustic sound of King Princess' set. Partway through the next song, the loving "Winter is Hopeful," explicitly inspired by the artist's girlfriend, she takes a beat to laugh at a set of bar chimes being rung to perfection. "I love that," she says, before returning to sing, her voice vibrating with a soulful urgency.

"If you're feeling saucy today, you can join in with the band," King Princess says before her finale, "Let Us Die," a punchy, fuzzed-out pop-rock song on the record that transforms here into a guitar-strummed jam session. "If the only way to love you is to let us die," she sings, her lyrics pulling together images of a break-up that's like a car driven off a cliff, poison-drinking and fingers stuck in sockets, "I will if I have to." Is this girl for real? If the gut-punching confidence with which King Princess sings here is any indication, yes, she is.

"Winter is Hopeful"
"Let Us Die"

King Princess: vocals, acoustic guitar
Antoine Fadavi: drums
Kaela Sinclair: keyboards, vocals
Logan McQuade: bass
Zack Page: guitar
Asaf Rodeh: guitar, vocals
DJ Balint-Dickson: percussion

Producer: Bob Boilen
Director/Editor: Maia Stern
Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin
Series Producer: Bobby Carter
Videographers: Maia Stern, Joshua Bryant, Michael Zamora, Elizabeth Gillis
Audio Assistant: Natasha Branch
Production Assistant: Jill Britton
Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Marissa Lorusso, Hazel Cills, Kara Frame, Ashley Pointer
VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

#nprmusic #tinydesk #kingprincess
NPR, NPR Music, National Public Radio
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