Kaki King – [Album]

Sunday, 04 April 2010

It has been said by several philosophers that guilt and the resulting sadness of it is a woman's burden to bear in this life. It may be felt by men, but men will bull their way through and try to ignore it (with mixed results); women contemplate and sometimes agonize over choices made, perceived opportunities missed and the resulting feelings injured to see if they can live with the results. The answer is never exactly a given and may be re-appraised at a later date; such is the nature and agony of being a woman, and it is certainly a hard road. It is also the road that Katherine “Kaki” King explores and viscerally dissects her new album, Junior.

By the beginning of the album, the damage for which King feels responsible has already been done and the album's main character is left wondering whether she and the actions she's taken were right or wrong in the tellingly-entitled  “The Betrayer.” With spidery and tense guitars, King wrestles with her roles as protector and betrayer (lines like “I am the guardian/I am the only one who knows/Gonna get you to a safe house where nobody goes” and “I did this to you, yes I did/I had my own life to save” tell the story) but only coming to the conclusion that she may be a little of both in the end. It's a biting self-analysis, but one that serves to set the tone for the album as such self-appraisals (in which the singer regularly casts herself as the one at fault) become regular practice. Songs like “Spit It Back In My Mouth” (telling lyric: “I'm not the friend you should lean on”), “Falling Day,” My Nerves That Committed Suicide” and “”Hallucinations From My Poisonous German Streets” all call forward hard feelings and bad choices made as the melancholy minor keys and tentative finger-picked guitars create walls of pathetic fallacy and pains of regret both in the singer and for listeners to draw parallels with in their own lives.

As self-aggrandizing as Kaki King gets in the run-time of Junior (the aforementioned songs are only the top two-thirds of the iceberg) there is always the glowing hope for change and/or redemption there in the singer's voice as she seems to apologize and beg forgiveness simultaneously and that is the hope that listeners find themselves taking refuge in the whole album through. In that way – because both singer and audience find themselves cast together – listeners find an access to these horrible affronts against love that they can sympathize with. It's a unique angle to take, in its own way, because while it probably shouldn't Kaki King manages to draw pathos while still obviously being the one at fault on Junior. Somehow, the singer manages to confess everything and still come off as the injured one; how many artists get to have their cake and eat it too like that?


Kaki King – "Falling Day" – Junior


Junior comes out on April 13, 2010 through Rounder Records. Pre-order it here on Amazon .

Comments are closed.