ARTIST: K. FLAY
LABEL: NIGHT STREET / INTERSCOPE RECORDS
WORDS: JAMES HOLDER
Balance. Balance is everything. At home, in life, in music. So, what do you do if you think your first couple of albums did nothing but highlight problems? You record an album full of solutions of course. So says twice Grammy nominated, Illinois native K. Flay and her new album ‘Solutions.’
The overriding message is simple and to the point. You’ve got to move away from the negative bits and try and focus on the positive. But while the message is clear and simple, it’s the way that K. Flay delivers it that adds the depth and shades of grey. From lambasting social media and the superficial aspects of modern life on opener ‘I Like Myself (Most Of The Time)’ to pondering falling in love on ‘Nervous’ no subject is off limits. But it’s her delivery and sharp wit that make this album the unrivalled success that it is.
Flay delivers more quotable lines on one album than your favourite artist delivers in their entire career. “Everyone wants to count their calories and money and their likes, baby my job is just to rhyme… don’t concern myself with all of the lives that I could have had” Helps give that opening track a punch, while the cutting “You’re the sequel that sucks” from lead single ‘Bad Vibes’ is another gem. ‘This Baby Don’t Cry’ is again packed to the rafters with sharp as blade barbs aimed at, well, pretty much everything.
“The album flies by with seamless ease, with each track giving a little bit more of an insight into the life of our chief storyteller.”
That’s not to say that it’s all laughs and social media sneering because that would be doing K. Flay a disservice. ‘Sister,’ dedicated to her stepbrother and sister, and ‘DNA’ discussing her likeness to her Father in the aftermath of her parent’s divorce and her Father’s death, show that the singer is far from a one trick pony.
The album flies by with seamless ease, with each track giving a little bit more of an insight into the life of our chief storyteller. ‘Good News’ serves as a pulsating reminder that we can be our own best friend in that search for positivity, as ‘Ice Cream’ bookends our earlier tale of falling in love. It’s a breakup song, but not as you know it. Bristling with one liners and devoid of wallowing, this is a break up, K. Flay style.
“‘Solutions’ slices and dices it’s way through modern life and all it’s pitfalls with a twinkle in it’s eye and a skip in its step.”
‘Solutions’ is a whistle stop guide in how to navigate your way through life in 2019 without spending your entire time frowning. Its lesson is that there’s always humour, and always a positive to look towards. But it’s also a reminder that sometimes you will feel down and you will feel sad, and that’s alright too. It’s an album of balance, it acknowledges life’s negatives but then points you towards the positives. The only thing as sharp as K. Flay’s wordplay is the production, which gives the album a cutting edge yet retro slant.
The project isn’t quite flawless with ‘Not In California’ and ‘Only The Dark’ being entirely skippable, but those missteps are few and far between. ‘Solutions’ slices and dices it’s way through modern life and all it’s pitfalls with a twinkle in it’s eye and a skip in its step.
So what if modern life can be rubbish? ‘Solutions’ certainly isn’t.
It’s all about balance.