A consistent lack of substance and character ruins Norweigan DJ Cashmere Cat’s sophomore album “PRINCESS CATGIRL,” a project that highlights the DJ’s penchant for distorted and futuristic vocals. The album departs from his usual repertoire of dance tracks featuring A-list artists and remixes of hot songs, instead focusing on Cashmere Cat’s personal music skill, but this attempt to branch off from his usual work falls flat with songs that make a lot of noise but do not say much.
“PRINCESS CATGIRL” consists of seven tracks fronted by an animated figure, the eponymous Princess Catgirl on the cover of the album. This animated figure represents Cashmere Cat’s alter ego, who allows him to take risks with his music that he otherwise would not feel confident enough to embrace. In a recent press release, Cashmere Cat emphasized the degree of separation between Princess Catgirl and himself and dove into different aspects of his artistry that emphasize the character. “I created Princess Catgirl to be the face of my music,” said Cashmere Cat, “She makes me feel safe.”
While Cashmere Cat still showcases his ability as a progressive producer to combine elements of dance, electronica and trap music, he enlists talent from a mixture of well-known and unknown producers, helping his production stray from the typical mainstream DJ scene. Unlike all-star DJs Calvin Harris and David Guetta, Cashmere Cat has an odd and innovative production style that is special but unfortunately still lacks the meaningful messages needed to make it memorable.
Seven tracks are not enough to prove Cashmere Cat’s highly anticipated return as a producer, especially two years after his debut album. Even the mere length of the release disappoints — most of the tracks are under three minutes and the entire project clocks in at an underwhelming 18 minutes.
Benny Blanco, the musical mind behind hit songs such as “California Gurls,” “Love Yourself” and “Diamonds,” is the co-producer of six of the seven tracks on “PRINCESS CATGIRL.” Despite the sheer industry talent working on the record, the album sounds rushed and half-baked.
Even though Cashmere Cat did not work with his usual stars for features, he still heavily relies on samples to kill time on the tracks. The misuse of his samples is abundantly clear on “WATERGIRL,” a play on words of the sample track, Christina Aguilera’s “What a Girl Wants.”
The opening features a synth-pop driven beat that has potential, but the song ultimately goes nowhere. Even though the sample loops and increases in pitch to reach a higher tone, the track falls flat when the beat drops. While the original song told a story of one girl’s desires for her partner, this updated version of the track simply repeats the lyrics, “What a girl wants / What a girl needs.” No message is conveyed, and it starts to sound as if the sample just fills out the track rather than being a meaningful production choice.
Throughout the album, Cashmere Cat shows that he can clearly produce music, but the tracks fail to capitalize on his talent to make one cohesive story that would give the album merit. The vocals on this album struggle to convey a message. As a result, nothing of substance gets told. Because each song does not change much from the beginning of one track to its end, Cashmere Cat builds no tension and the album fails to engage its listeners.
The opening track, “FOR YOUR EYES ONLY,” begins with a distorted voice repeating the same lines, “Show every part, oh, every part of me / For your eyes only / I don’t wanna know, I don’t ever wanna know.”
While the lyrics could be vulnerable and moving, the voice singing them does not display the emotion needed to deliver such heartfelt lyrics. With “9,” Cashmere Cat’s debut album, the DJ seemed poised to become one of the most prominent producers of the next decade, showcasing an eclectic production style and a good eye for features. With “PRINCESS CATGIRL,” Cashmere Cat seems to have released an album just to get his name back into the minds of music listeners.
By releasing such a short album, the Norwegian producer and DJ needed to make every song a smash to make its sub-20-minute runtime worth it. While Cashmere Cat showcases that he has enough creativity to make provocative music, anticlimactic and confusing production choices hold his entire project back.