The queer community has been anticipating the release of Cheap Queen (Zelig/Columbia) by King Princess (Mikaela Mullaney Straus) for more than a year. Straus has promoted a tough lesbian swagger, boasting of her Brooklyn work with her father on the engineering of hard rock albums. But the 20-year-old’s persona, developed under Mark Ronson, owes much more to a chanteuse style similar to Lorde’s. King Princess proves in tracks like “Hit the Back” and “Prophet” that she’s flawless in execution of a passionate pop song.
But before King Princess’ coronation at the top of pop royalty, let’s acknowledge the equally fine new release Pang (Perpetual Novice) by Caroline Polachek, formerly of Boulder’s Chairlift. Polachek has released solo works under the names Ramona Lisa and CEP in recent years, but this new work adds some electronica and moody styles suggestive of Kimbra or Carly Rae Jepsen.
King Princess will win accolades as a new pop icon, but a careful listen to Polachek’s “Door” or “Ocean of Tears” should make the case that two significant pop divas made their debut in late October.