King Princess “Hold On Baby” Album Review

Hold On Baby

King Princess

    • Genre: Pop
    • Date: 29 Jul, 2022
    • Content: explicit
    • Region: USA
    • Track(s): 12
  • ℗ 2022 Zelig Records, LLC

On her sophomore album, King Princess is being completely honest. Refusing to stay within the boundaries of generic indie-pop, Hold On Baby’s delicate instrumentals and pulsing dance beats perfectly capture the confusion, elation, and frustration that come with being human.

Evocative lyricism doesn’t barge in here, but it falls into line like flecks of snow. Revealing and candid, Hold On Baby by King Princess, has a story only she can tell, a story brimming in past mistakes and torn love.

It’s a release that honors its sensuous self-pity without succumbing to it, creating a cathartic, incredibly personal confessional work. ‘Hold On Baby’ perfectly builds upon the sound King Princess forged for herself on her 2019 debut. Packed with personality and innovative sounds, this is an incredibly strong release.

Album Cover Art

King Princess &Quot;Hold On Baby&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, April 22, 2024

On the aesthetic album cover, the artist is dressed in a black, sleeveless tank top over a pair of jeans that hangs slightly below her waist, revealing the waistband of the boxer shorts she has underneath. Another highlight is the bird that appears to have just landed on her bracelet-adorned wrist. The entire style, though queer, is actually a good match for the project.

Tracks and Features

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. It’s an incredibly self-aware soundtrack of self-limitation, painful desire bubbling just beneath the surface – all before bursting into a transformative cry of “I don’t wanna live like that.”

“Little Bother”, another single and a collaboration with Fousheé, sees Straus ponder her own mistreatment in a tone that might sound unemotional if not for the frenetic drum track behind it drawing out a suppressed sense of despondency. “For My Friends” boasts similarly breathy ruminations but is drenched in vibrant electronics, with pockets of synth that continuously burst and shrink.

Icy strings and a soft-rock sax emerge through the heavy drums of “Crowbar,” echoing Straus’ descriptions of finding what she calls a “personal anchor” in a tumultuous time; the determined “Change the Locks” has jagged guitars that fuel the desperation of its incendiary chorus. At the album’s midpoint, an interlude named after the LP lets King Princess take stock amidst sparkling synths: “I will figure out my pain,” she asserts, her voice deepening with resolve.

The fuzzed-out “Let Us Die” serves as the album’s final track and makes excellent use of the stripped-down verses/explosive chorus dynamic. A spoken-word interlude is added for an additional layer of drama. This format allows her to perform with all of her swagger and is well matched to the lyrics’ ideas of love as dual annihilation. Straus sings the song’s refrain, “If the only way to love you is to let us die,” over and over as drums (played by the late Taylor Hawkins) crash around her. Eventually, a wave of feedback ends the song on a musical cliffhanger.


1 I Hate Myself, I Want To Party King Princess 3:54
2 Cursed King Princess 3:20
3 Winter is Hopeful King Princess 3:01
4 Little Bother King Princess & Fousheé 2:41
5 For My Friends King Princess 3:35
6 Crowbar King Princess 3:47
7 Hold on Baby Interlude King Princess 1:45
8 Too Bad King Princess 2:53
9 Change the Locks King Princess 4:29
10 Dotted Lines King Princess 3:42
11 Sex Shop King Princess 3:34
12 Let Us Die King Princess 3:53

Album Theme

Love is undoubtedly the central theme on of this release. Hold On Baby is urbane and self-possessed, the work of a keen-eared musician coming into their own as a producer and stylist. She sounds even more like herself: More flexible as a vocalist, more cutting as a lyricist, more confident in her own power to bridge gaps between disparate styles. Hold On Baby isn’t a breakup album; instead Straus finds inspiration in the tensions that arise in a long-term relationship.

Production Credits

Producers that worked on the album include Aaron Dessner, Dave Hamelin, Ethan Gruska, King Princess, Mark Ronson, Shawn Everett, Tobias Jesso Jr., Veronica Wyman & Zach Fogarty.


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