Listen To This: King Krule takes a stab at dream-pop

Listen to this week’s most notable singles from King Krule, Sufjan Stevens and more.


Susan Behrends Valenzuela

(Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela)

This week’s featured singles go from totally unexpected, in the case of Sufjan Stevens, to exactly what fans anticipated, as with Ice Spice’s new release. But all are worth the listen — read on for more. 

“Seaforth” by King Krule

Holden Lay, Staff Writer

With “Seaforth,” King Krule delivers the dream-poppiest track of his career. The track is lush, with shimmering waves of woozy guitar and major key noodling — a very different feel from his usual sparse and crushingly heavy style. However, the songwriting is no less melancholic, poetically chronicling a a dreamy, unrequited love: “She speaks in my dreaming / I take her waist within my hands / And when I wake she melts away into the sand / What meanin,’ of this feelin’?” Krule also seems to worry for his 4-year-old daughter, who is credited as a co-writer on the songs. He sings of feeling uncertain about the future of the world: “I see you, my same eyes / Reflect the world that falls apart / There’s a fire in our hearts.” 

In “Seaforth,” King Krule explores a gorgeous new sound by diving into interesting tonal gray areas. The youthful, awkward immediacy of his early work has faded into a more confident lyricism.

“Ekstasis” by Sufjan Stevens

Sandy Battulga, Music Editor

Sufjan Stevens never formally learned how to play the piano, but has said that “piano was [his] first true love.” In 2019, Stevens exercised this self-taught knowledge of the instrument, and classical music in general, by composing a score for Justin Peck’s ballet “Reflections.”

On April 18, Stevens announced that he would be releasing the score as an album. “Ekstasis” is the first single off the “Reflections” album, and it shows that the singer-songwriter still has a particular stylistic flair, even in the realm of classical music. A piano composition made for a ballet seems like completely foreign territory for fans who listen to Stevens for his soft-spoken, indie presence. Yet, “Ektasis” still feels profoundly familiar. Especially in the final minute of the piece, there are moments where the chord progressions and pacing of the piece reminds listeners of Stevens’ past work. It sounds like a continuation of songs such as “Visions of Gideon” or “Fourth of July.” Overall, there is a modernist, Philip Glass feel to the track, with its plunky and dissonant melody. “Ekstasis” is an exciting glimpse into Stevens’ unpretentious and reliably beautiful compositional talent.

“Princess Diana (with Nicki Minaj)” by Ice Spice

Pritheva Zakaria, Contributing Writer

On April 14, 23-year-old rapper Ice Spice released a remix of her song “Princess Diana” with legendary rapper Nicki Minaj.

The title of the song is a direct homage to the nickname Ice Spice’s fans have given her. The reason she is dominating the rap world right now is that she listens to her fans. This song is a perfect example: its lyrics are clever, with a slew of quoteworthy zingers such as “When we come out, it look like Princess Diana on the street” and “They burned they London Bridges / None of them bitches British / I know they know the difference.” These lyrics speak to the British royalty that’s referenced by the song’s title, while also talking about haters and relationships. Ice Spice and Minaj rap about how they have been improving themselves mentally and physically, and the only thing their haters and exes can do is watch in awe. An iconic collaboration between two of the most prominent women in rap, this song is definitely worth a listen for its lyrical content and fun beat.

“Ashufak Shay (feat. Rashid Al Najjar)” by Dudu Tassa and Jonny Greenwood

Sandy Battulga, Music Editor

Jonny Greenwood has joined forces with Israeli artist Dudu Tassa to create the album “Jarak Qaribak,” to be released on June 9. The duo shared the album’s lead single, “Ashufak Shay,” last week. 

Jonny Greenwood is most known for being the guitarist of a little band called Radiohead. He has undertaken a multitude of different projects, though, including writing scores for films and now this experimental album. In “Ashufak Shay,” Greenwood and Tassa bring together sounds and traditions that don’t intuitively go together, yet make complete sense when put in conversation with one another. A ney, an instrument that originates from Persian, Turkish and Arabic music traditions, is supported by an electric bass, and strikes of piano keys punctuate a beat created by a drum machine. Rashid Al Najjar sings in Arabic, and his voice soars above all the other instruments on the track, seeming to echo in your ears even after the song ends.

Contact the music desk at [email protected].