"I'm learning to live.
I'm trying to be better.
I'm learning to give.
But I don't know if I'm a giver."
Singer songwriter Kristine Meredith Flaherty (a.k.a. K.Flay) is a swirl of sass and attitude. She modulates beautifully when she sings. She fearlessly struts her stuff talking through songs like a femme fatale version of The Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant. She defiantly embraces rap between melodies. And finally seamlessly wraps her songs up in an unexpected mix of alternative and pop depending upon her mood. K.Flay is a wonderful addition to the music world as she seems to effortlessly put it all together as a sass master who is certainly not immune to self-reflection and self-criticism.
Her first recording Life As A Dog (2014) had its moments with songs like Everyone I Know, Make Me Fade and Can't Sleep but it's her sophomore effort Every Where Is Some Where (2017) where she seems most confident, bold, brash, kicking out a microphone stand and taking the world by the fucking balls. You have to love that kind of attitude and approach in the manufactured star-making world of American Idol. It's always refreshing to see a new arrival like K.Flay amidst the relentless waves of Swifts, Perrys and Grandes of the world. She's just different. And she's been paying her dues as far back as 2003, over a decade before releasing her first full-length recording.
There's something dirty, raucus, even, dare I say, sex-kittenish yet tomboy about the streetwise K.Flay that kind of makes it all work for her. She's like an alternative throwback, in terms of spirit and independence, to the likes of Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) or Kim Deal (The Breeders), a rough and tumble version of Melanie C. (Spice Girls), but her genre-defying style and ability to alternate between music types makes her an absolute blast to listen to. K.Flay draws from a large expanse of influences, but she is indeed special, a one of a kind.
You don't catch the notice of Imagine Dragons, tour with the band and re-work a track like Evolve's Thunder unless you have a lot to offer. K.Flay is making serious waves releasing non-album singles, collaborations with a shit ton of other artists and even landing herself a theme track for the new Tomb Raider (2018) film starring Alicia Vikander.
But as cohesive work her second effort is filled with great cuts and I was torn on whether to highlight High Enough or Giver here at The Pop Song.
But driving down a lonely country road amidst a sizable Nor'easter and turning up the volume sealed the deal when Giver arrived and tore up the speakers of my car with more attitude and bad ass sass than any pop star has a right. It all seems to come so naturally for her too. It's not an act or contrived like so many of these pop stars today. K.Flay has talent and this music fan admires her effort to keep it real and make music that she feels true to. I'll be thrilled to watch this one and see it continue.
Giver and the rest of her second album have me completely hard for what will come next from the artist. It's a breath of fresh air to hear someone not trying to fit a mold and just deliver some sonically impressive, great music. Keep kicking it K.Flay!
Every Where Is Some Where (2017). B+. This rule-breaking modern rock rap affair is filled with great tunes including Dreamers, Giver, Blood In The Cut, High Enough, Mean It and You Felt Right among my favorites.
Giver: A. K.Flay absolutely gives her all on this track and the rest of her fantastic second recording. This is also the second track on the production. And we can't wait to see what she's giving next, because she's learning her craft and how to deliver it. She's learning to be better and she undeniably has so much more in her to give.