Monday, January 7th, 2019

King Princess – Pussy is God

Sound of 1950 becomes Sound of 2019…


Katherine St Asaph: If you aim for “Like a Prayer,” you best not miss. King Princess’s take on going down in prayer is significantly more chill than Madonna’s — almost everything is. But it’s as ebullient, with crushed-out lyrics (the title omits the “your”; this is no polemic) and a beat that, unlike “1950,” sounds like it was made after 1950. Extra point for how “their best wasn’t good enough” could either be a swoon of admiration or a boast about the people you beat out.

Tobi Tella: If “1950,” King Princess’s debut single, was proof that we’ve finally reached the point that queer love can get schmaltzy, beautiful romantic ballads into the mainstream now, this song proves that we’ve reached a point where the same can be said for raunchy sex songs. The titular line may come off to some as sophomoric, but the way she casually drops it makes it clear that it’s not asking for attention — it’s just how she feels. The chill vibe amplifies this feeling in the song; she doesn’t care what you think, this is about her and her girl. Basically, King Princess is the coolest fucking person ever and I want to be her.

Julian Axelrod: For most of her short career, King Princess has operated in a decidedly minor key. She belts her songs of heartbreak and persecution like they’re about to rip her in two. But “Pussy is God” is different: more refinement than reinvention, its DayGlo gay flow a blinding testament to the life-changing wonder of a good fuck. When that last “Oochie Wally” sample air-bombs the billowing synths beneath it, it feels like a rebirth — not an entirely new artist, but a new side of one we’ve already grown to love.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: A lovey bit of word salad that makes just enough weird choices (the slap bass! the “Oochie Wally” sample?) to come off as charmingly amateurish rather than lazy in its vibe and core lyrical conceit. The use of “pussy” is still a bit too cute; I’m not saying that every usage should be as explicit as Fever Ray’s but here it doesn’t seem to do anything but exist, a lyrical flag-staking out that doesn’t go anywhere interesting. On the whole, I’m agnostic.

Claire Biddles: Essentialist pussy-centric feminism is garbage and this song is golden. How joyous and funny to hear a genderqueer person singing about their (credited as a co-writer!) nonbinary girlfriend’s pussy as a way into a just-sweet-enough love song. Like fellow queer pop prince(ss) Troye Sivan, King Princess flattens the hierarchies of love and sex; perpetually discovering one through the other. “Pussy is God” is a wry joke cracked open to reveal its core of tenderness — which is King Princess’s whole appeal.

Nicholas Donohoue: Last year I worked at the local county clerk’s office as a temporary worker for running elections, primarily with numerous 40-year-old moms. Occasionally we, as a group, would have to do a long laborious process, so we would all treat ourselves to music. Another temporary worker was assigned to make the playlist and purposefully put in songs that moms would object to on a lyrical basis but are so clearly bangers that no one would notice. This song would have fit so snugly into that playlist, and that makes me happy.

Alfred Soto: In a year that ended with more women elected to Congress than ever and Noname proclaiming that “my pussy wrote a thesis on colonialism,” the positivity behind King Princess’s track would be marvelous in itself without the stop-start dynamics, keyboard hooks, clapping, and the Princess’s own regal vocal performance. 

Crystal Leww: Centering pussies in your feminism is something you grow out of. 

Thomas Inskeep: I like the production on this slice of weirdo alt-pop, which brings to mind a more pop-obsessed St. Vincent. 

Jonathan Bradley: I think I liked “1950” on first listen; by the 100th, I felt its mushy chords were turning my skin to soap. After a few days with “Pussy is God,” I feel its alkaline wash having the same effect, its soft edges leeching away my ability to care. I wonder if this contemporary age of enervation is inuring my ability to care for King Princess’s charms — her open desire, her pastel funk, her empathetic phrasing — and maybe one day I will be able to listen to this and not ache for something to happen.

Vikram Joseph: A lovestruck, R&B-influenced shuffle, slick and well-produced, but, other than the tender reappropriation of the word “pussy,” bereft of any sort of tension or surprise. Maybe that’s the point in the context of the kind of romantic fulfillment Mikaela Straus is feeling, but it leaves the song feeling pleasant at best, hollow at worst.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: King Princess is no stranger to employing religious imagery to describe her queer experiences, but it comes to the forefront with “Pussy is God.” While there’s a winking coyness with how “praying” alludes to cunnilingus, this is otherwise a straightforward love song that unabashedly celebrates sexual intimacy. It feels complete, though, because of how much she gushes about her lover. The pre-chorus’s downscale melody evokes infatuation in all its delight; you can feel it suffused in the softly sung, “I’ve been looking for something I want, and baby it’s you.” The delivery of certain words — “I think you’re so cute when you get high,” “you’re better off with me,” the occasional “oh” or “ah” or “um” — projects a sense of elation that’s all-consuming and irrevocable. King Princess is in love and there’s nothing you or anyone can do to stop it. That “Pussy is God” was co-written by girlfriend Amandla Stenberg only makes this all the sweeter.

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One Response to “King Princess – Pussy is God”

  1. i like this, but the incredible amount of similarities between her and sir babygirl doesn’t do it any favours

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