Review Summary: Not the second coming of Jesus, but still pretty good.
Kristine Flaherty (better known by her stage name K. Flay) is a female rapper/singer from Wilmette, Illinois and an alumna at Stanford University in California. She began rapping as a joke, but decided she rather enjoyed it and wanted to pursue a career in music. Her debut studio album Life as a Dog
is a difficult album to describe. It fails to consistently stay within a specific genre for much of its nearly 45 minute run time, but that isn’t always a bad thing. One of the most enjoyable facets of the record is Flay’s ability to transition from dreamy, indie-pop crooning to spacey, near trip-hop rapping, often within one song. And while not every song is a resounding success, the high points tower over the failures.
The greatest aspect of the album is easily the production, and the versatility exhibited is worth the price of entry alone. In album highlight “I’m Good” synthesizers combine seamlessly with jangly electric guitar over clashing drums while melodic keys weave their way in and out, and you have no choice but to be truly mesmerized by the outstanding foundation set for K. Flay to rap over. And it is then that the album’s weakest link is found.
K. Flay is certainly not the greatest lyricist, and she falls into the category of rappers-whose-production-saves-them-from-mediocrity. While she isn’t terrible, and her flow and style are genuinely enjoyable to listen to, her lyrics are certainly nothing to write home about. Her biggest problem is that for every great lyric there is an equally awkward or flat-out poorly written lyric. In “Wishing It Was You” she goes from great or passable lyrics such as I don't need a wedding, let's stay home instead/ We can both confess things we've never even said
, to bizarre or awful lyrics such as sucking on a bottle of Jim Beam wishing it was you
. This lyrical inconsistency is found throughout the entirety of Life as a Dog
, and while it is never apparent enough to warrant skipping a song or turning off the album entirely, it is certainly a detractor from the overall experience.
Life as a Dog
isn’t the most revolutionary album of all time, or even the best hip-hop or indie album of the year, but it is certainly worth a listen if only for the absolutely fantastic production. Fans of indie-pop, pop rap, trip-hop, or spaced-out production should find at least one aspect to enjoy here, which is where the album’s greatest success lies. Sure K. Flay is a rapper, but this isn’t just a hip-hop album.
Everyone I Know
Make Me Fade
Time For You