Coming Through My Headphones: K. Flay

I’m back from my belated honeymoon and cranking out all the inspiration I got while in Greece. But I’m also getting back to my musical posts because there’s always something interesting pumping through my headphones. This week’s no different. I’m currently listening to music from new artist K. Flay (aka The Artist Formerly Known as Kristine Flaherty).

Listening to K. Flay’s album “Life As A Dog” my first thoughts were : Oh hell, the Lana Del Ray gravy train has officially rolled in. We all know the formula: Sultry, sex-pot voice. Lyrics clearly designed to piss off puritan mothers everywhere. The all American good-girl-gone-bad, chain-smoking image. And there’s no picture on the album cover, but I’m sure she’s got a doe-eyed baby face to contrast with her jaded tough-girl sound.

The Album, 'Life As A Dog', Comes Out Tomorrow June 24th

The Album, ‘Life As A Dog’, Comes Out Tomorrow June 24th

It’s a great formula, as they go. Don’t get it twisted, I love me some Lana and her raspy 60’s pop vocals – if not her necrophile tendencies. I’m a tried and true goody goody, so the bad girl sex-pot lyrics don’t exactly hit home for me, but it’s refreshing to see a young woman daring to question the status quo for what’s acceptable behavior. And K. Flay pulls it off as well as any other with songs like Everyone I Know, Wishing It Was You, Bad Things, Turn It Around, & the summer anthem Thicker Than Dust.

But let’s not lie to ourselves here – this is clearly part of a formula and nothing more. Right? Well, not exactly. I was pleasantly surprised to find a few key differences between K and her contemporaries. For one she prefers a little chronic with her flow instead of the typical menthol flavored ciggy. And speaking of flow – girlfriend’s got it! Not just the Eminem fast talking stream-of-consciousness flow that others have adopted either. Yeah, she channels Em’ well, but then she flips it and goes deeper a la Snoop Dogg, Dre, & an old school West Coast sound that I have a hard time brushing off as contrived.

Yes, she’s a Stanford graduate from suburban Illinois – and that isn’t exactly ‘Straight Outta Compton’ – but she isn’t claiming to be, so it’s all good. And with the addition of her own unique sound in the form of punk influences, 80’s video game background music, and a sarcastic, slightly self-deprecating social commentary reminiscent of Tina Fey – I’m not so sure this album is a formula after all. If it is, I’m falling for it hook, line, and sinker. Can we be ‘thicker than dust’ BFF’s?

K. Flay has a thing for saying she’s bad. Maybe. Maybe not. But if she’s good at being bad. I’m better at goin’ hard for the party. Oh, and did I mention this chick ain’t no baby-faced innocent after all. Check out the pictures and song breakdown below. I think this could work!

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SweatKicks

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Everyone I Know – It has that sarcastic, light-hearted melody and dark lyrics. The dark parts are maybe a little too dark? I believe her as Tina Fey playing a character, but otherwise I don’t know.

Make Me Fade – Chronic? Snoop? Roll down the windows and dip bounce to the down beat. Okay, I’m a believer!

Can’t Sleep – Sound all her own. Current. Still borrowed from the 80’s. Belongs in a vintage video game.

Wishing It Was You – “Sucking on a bottle of Jim Beam wishing it was you.”

Yeah, she said it. Did you hear it? Take a minute to soak in the smutty innuendo. Now share it with a friend. Electronic hip-hop sound.

Fever – First 40 seconds: Who am I listening to? Tegan & Sara? Next 40: Or is it Eminem? Back & forth in intervals. Then hallucinogenic drop beat to give meaning to the title. I’m feeling feverish alright.

Bad Things – Pure Slim Shady, cleaning out the skeletons in my closet, but for some reason I wanna dance.

I’m Good – I need a blunt.

Turn It Around – “Just because you sin, well that don’t make you a sinner.”

“What I gotta figure, if it hurts is it worth it? Know that I know better. Tomorrow I could turn it around.”

I love how she alternates between all-out rebellion and level-headed repentance. Isn’t that what we all go through at some point?

Thicker Than Dust – Requisite summer anthem. Alcohol, chanting, powerful, on top of the world.

“Me and my friends … thicker than dust. I need to keep my mind, my mind movin’ on up because it’s always going down, always going down … Nobody around got a husband. Nobody around got a wife to call … Waking up to go to sleep again … Naked girls, diamond rings … money’s over-rated, sex ain’t hard to find, we’re not in-love, since when is that a crime?”

Time For You – “You got drunk and said you love me, but I wouldn’t come inside. I’ve got options, trust me. Yeah I know other guys … ”

She starts off strong, but doesn’t stay that way for long. Soon enough there’s talk of commitment and I wanna tell her “Oh honey, this is not going to end well. What happened to ‘nobody around got a husband?'” It’s bitter and depressing, but I love the vulnerability.

Get It Right – “Want you to know that I wanna be better, but it feels like it’s gonna take forever.”

K. Flay gets better with each track, and I don’t think it’s gonna take forever for her to get noticed. That’s it. Go cop the album tomorrow, folks! ~ cS, Constance SHERESE

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