Every release in K. Flay‘s career has been a step up from the one previous. Last year’s What If It Is turned up the heat with some sizzling production and tighter beats. On her new record, the crowdfunded Life As A Dog, she pushes the envelope even futher, marrying that heightened production with her best songwriting to date. These songs are more complex and adult than anything she’s released so far, and a good sign that the potential shown over the past few years might be just the tip of the iceberg.
A lot of similar themes are covered through all of Flay’s records, and this one hits most of those. The difference here is how those themes are dealt with. Rather than just turning the tempo up to a million and celebrating a lifestyle of staying out all night getting drunk with friends, there’s a hint of bittersweet knowledge that a lifestyle like that can’t last forever. It also features a more romantic side of Flay than what we’ve heard on the past two EP’s.
On “Wishing It Was You” she talks at length about a deep crush on a friend that doesn’t return the feeling. It does a great job of capturing the emotional rollercoaster that situation can cause, as well as the dread that comes along with knowing it will never happen. She even describes her fantasy a bit in the last verse: “I’ve got room in my apartment, I thought that you should know. If you take out the garbage, I’ll pay for the phone. I don’t need a wedding, let’s stay home instead. We could both confess things we’ve never even said.”
Where that track feels more like Lily Allen, Flay comes back harder and darker than Allen could ever imagine on tracks like “Bad Things.” You can still hear a lot of the influences from her earlier work, like heavy atmosphere of the xx on this one. I like that throughout her career she hasn’t tried to deny where some of those ideas for beats and rhythms come from. It would make the music completely different if she tried to cover it up and make it sound too different.
On the final track “Get It Right,” Flay speaks about being strong, looking forward, and not worrying about what others think about you. She says “I wanna be better, but it feels like it’s gonna take forever.” With this album, getting better is gonna be a tough task, but I think she can pull it off.