All Hail The New Queer Teen Stars
In a Genius lyric explainer video from earlier this year, Mikaela Straus, better known as King Princess — the fast-rising indie singer-songwriter and first signee to Mark Ronson’s new label, Columbia imprint Zelig Records — explains the meaning behind her debut single “1950.” Strauss chose the titular year as a metaphor for modern-day unrequited love. “When someone’s cold to you in a public place, that’s similar to the way people once couldn’t be gay in public,” she says. “I wanted to pay tribute to that point in history.”
I’m not even 10 years older than Straus, but hearing her explanation made me feel suddenly decrepit. There wasn’t a single kid in an openly gay relationship at my suburban Connecticut high school; as recently as the mid-aughts, so many of us were still playing 1950. But to young people like Straus, life in the closet might already seem like the stuff of ancient history.