Renovating the pop-rock music scene, songwriter and rapper, K. Flay injected the genre with a refreshing combination of gritty lyrics and impassioned, edgy guitar riffs with the release of her second studio album: ‘Every Where is Some Where’.
In April 2017, the singer sated my need for more of her hauntingly soft vocals with the re-release of fan-favourite tunes like ‘Blood in the Cut’ and ‘Hollywood Forever’ from her ‘Crush Me’ EP (2016); whilst staying true to her distinctly dark edge of alternative hip-hop with head-bopping new songs ‘High Enough’ and ‘Champagne’. And that is just naming a few of the powerful melodies that made me want to throw on a leather jacket and ride into the sunset on a Harley.
Taking inspiration from the gritty lyrics seen from alternative rock band, Royal Blood, ‘Blood in the Cut’ is the quintessence of the magic that happens when contrasting raw lyricism with fragile vocals, especially when backed with the soft, catchy guitar riffs K. Flay is known for. Semantically, it may seem a little heavy for your average break-up song, but the energy in the delivery of K. Flay’s voice sets her apart from other artists. It’s a song I’ve had on repeat, even though the alternative hip-hop isn’t my go-to genre; and that’s because I can’t find that unique, almost-raspy style in any other artist of the genre. You need only listen to the quickening tempo of the lyrics: ‘Take my arm, break it in half / Say something, do it soon / It's too quiet in this room’ to know the chorus is going to be stuck in your head. Or a villain playlist on Spotify. Either way, you are going to feel like a badass when this song easily becomes an earworm.
‘High Enough’ takes the tempo down a notch, similarly to the sensual chord progression seen in ‘Time For You’ from 2014 album ‘Life as a Dog’, if like me, you tend to gravitate towards an artist’s earlier works to see how they have developed their style. Although in ‘High Enough’ K. Flay hasn’t incorporated her signature alt-rap flare in this song, I don’t think that’s what the song needed – it’s a love song, in essence, and the way in which she sings about it displays how hard K. Flay bends the genre to her edge. Where in her 2014 album you can clearly see the influences of Missy Elliott’s revolutionary style, in this album and specifically ‘High Enough’, you can see how she has experimented with her own enticing sounds and infectious lyrics – we have all ‘found a different buzz’ in our experiences with love and infatuation. It is almost a poignant sound, like a meditative reflection on her relationships, which complements the change of pace in this song. I love it. Tens across the board.
‘Champagne’ sees the combination of the elements I love from the aforementioned singles – that energetic tempo in her rap and insane lyricism integrates with the screechy bass in the intro seamlessly. Particularly, that chorus blew my mind when I heard it. The gradual loss of that sensual raspy tone K. Flay in between the repeated lyrics ‘I feel it, I want it / I need it, I love it / I'm looking for something / To make me feel nothing’ effortlessly transitions into that clarified aggression you can hear in her vocals. That lively sound builds up to that powerful instrumental drop to emphasise the almost-scream audible in her voice, showcasing her abilities as a singer and passion for her music. Who would’ve thought hip-hop can complement indie music so well? I didn’t realise I needed this combination of genres before hearing K. Flay and I am extremely excited to see what she does next in her 2021/2022 ‘The Inside Voices Outside Voices Tour’.
And on that note, lets adorn our leather jackets and ride into the sunset on our Harleys. Article By Rebecca Todd