Review: Beauty Queen – ‘Real Life’

Beauty Queen released their first single of 2021 called Real Life, produced by Henry Moser (Henry Nowhere, Day Wave). This dream pop single is arguably their best work to date.
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Beauty Queen – Real Life (SoundCloud)

Beauty Queen released their first single of 2021 called Real Life. Katie Iannitello fronts the project, with Henry Moser as the producer (you might know him from Henry Nowhere, and as the bassist for Day Wave). This is arguably their best work yet.

The approach to the production on this single is noticeably different than their previous work. The low-end of the song isn’t filtered out, and there’s less tape warp. This song fill the spectrum, full of color. If you’re looking for a mix to be inspired by, look no further. Henry’s production is brilliant.

Real Life opens with an airy synth on the left and gently on the right as the vocals come in. A bass groove is doubled, two takes panned on the left and right. The drums have a really tight sound, with the mics panned close to center to blend as one instrument.

Slide guitar comes in during the second half of the song, sounding perfect for the mix. Warm guitar melodies enter at just the right times, and an acoustic guitar gives texture, becoming prominent for a measure as everything fades away. Synth pads gently fill the space without covering things, delayed perfectly behind the mix. Little synth melodies float in and out, giving the song detail that you hear on repeated listens. I’m quite certain they bounced the song to tape, giving it a natural compression that acts like glue.

You threw it away so easy
You don’t take it personally
You just let it be
Doesn’t mean that you have a better hold on things
Just cause you threw it away so easy

Beauty Queen – Real Life

Looking at how Katie’s vocals are layered, one track is saturated, likely tape saturation, and the other track is produced cleanly so you can hear her vocals distinctly. You hear a little chorus mixed in at times to thicken the voice. The saturated layer comes in lightly, and becomes more prominent in the chorus. This is a similar approach Day Wave uses on his vocals, though Katie’s are more saturated.

The lyrics are confrontational and written to her dad, and how his choices have affected her. She wrote on Instagram, “This song is for my dad, for your dad, for your barista, for a beautiful landscape, for a good laugh, bad cry, fun times and all the relationships you have.”

If this is any indication of where Beauty Queen are headed, I couldn’t be more excited. I have enjoyed her previous work immensely. This song is written and produced extremely well.

Beauty Queen discography

Hope It’s You single, 2021
Same Old Story single, 2021
Real Life single, 2021
Christmas At The Zoo single, 2020
Where Do We Go single, 2020
Sweet Memory (Magdalena Bay Remix) single, 2020
Sweet Memory / Two of Us EP, 2020
Out of Touch EP, 2019
Blue by You (demo) single, 2017
Yes Please (demo) single, 2017

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Kevin Flick
Kevin Flick

Kevin Flick founded Puddlegum in 1997 and has been engaging in music journalism off and on since. He's also a recording/mixing engineer and loves to help bands work through the creative process. He has coproduced and mixed for artists such as Saeyers, Midi Memory, and Cathedral Bells.

Rumors are that he's a Brighton Hove & Albion FC fan. He's also obsessed with coffee. Kevin resides in the college community of Bloomington, Indiana, where he studied at Indiana University.

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