Music

Pain: King Princess Drops Gay Music Video She Wished For as a Kid

King Princess is an artist full of exciting new possibilities. Born Mikaela Mullaney Straus, she has won a legion of loyal fans with her lesbian lyrics and androgynous style. Her first single, “1950,” paid tribute to The Price of Salt (a.k.a. Carol). And with hits such as “Pussy Is God,” King Princess is well on her way to becoming a lesbian icon. Now, with the release of “Pain,” she has gifted us with some sweet Sapphic content just in time for Christmas.

The “Pain” music video is a collaboration with her girlfriend Quinn Wilson. Lizzo’s creative director, Wilson is no stranger to the arts. The slick aesthetic is all down to her – as King Princess points out, she made “Pain” look like “[the] most expensive video I’ve ever had. Not just expensive in money; expensive in taste.” But “Pain” was filmed in the space of a week. Tight on time and budget, though you would never guess from watching. The bold colours and flamboyant costumes make every moment stand out.

When asked about inspiration, King Princess. cites Weezer and Madonna as influences. There is something delightfully ‘90s about the tank tops and leather jackets, the jangle of the keyboard that is this track’s pulse. And Madonna’s touch can certainly be felt in “Pain” – the fetish gear, the willingness to court controversy, they both hark back to her “Human Nature” video. And Pain suggests that King Princess has the Queen of Pop’s flare for reinvention.

Upbeat and electronic, it’s a marked departure from her debut album. Cheap Queen was a mellow affair. This new single is anything but. And it has the music video to prove it. Though Pain has met with some backlash owing to the BDSM themes, King Princess is clear that she’s talking about the pain of heartbreak:

“In music especially, we’re talking about having your heart broken, being left, being left on read, being told that you’re too much. And I think this is kind of the physical manifestation of those feelings. And I hope that somebody else who wants to jam out to something that is lighthearted but also represents their possible heartbreak, this is like the video I would want to watch myself in those moments.”

With Pain, King Princess takes us through the emotional rollercoaster that is modern day lesbian dating. As we have come to expect from her, she sings unambiguously about relationships with women: “These girls just come and let me down. I guess that’s how I’ll do it now. She don’t think I got the time. Now I’m wondering if she’s mine.”

The cast of women who lick, stroke, fondle, and even tattoo King Princess make “Pain” an explicitly lesbian music video. A fact that is not lost on its creator: “I wish I had a video like this that was also gay as a kid. I think Quinn makes great content like that, because it really is just so matter-of-fact.”

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