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Anjimile Wears a Heavy Crown on New Song ‘The King’

Anjimile — the singer-songwriter who broke through in 2020 with his debut, Giver Taker — is back with a new song, “The King.” The single is from his upcoming album of the same name, out Sept. 8 via his new label 4AD.

“The King” is a dramatic, unsettling, yet grand track based around meticulously crafted choral arrangements, thumping percussion, and a striking riff that sounds like an uncanny harpsichord. With references to the biblical story of Belshazzar’s feast and the “writing on the wall,” Anjimile grapples with the grief and fury of being Black in America, singing, “What don’t kill you/almost killed you/What don’t fill you//Pains you, drains you.”

“The King” arrives with an animated lyric video created by Daniela Yohannes, who also designed the album art for The King.

In a statement, Anjimile described The King as “an album of curses,” compared to Giver Taker, which was an “album of prayers.” Exploring what it means to be Black and trans, the songs were largely born out of the violent summer of 2020, where the pandemic and the uprising against racial injustice and police brutality collided. 


In an interview with Rolling Stone at the time, while promoting Giver Taker, Anjimile alluded to this new direction, saying, “It seems like there’s a lot of protest songs in my heart, and a lot of grief, and a lot of chromatic shit is happening for some reason. I’m thinking it’s gonna get weird. I’d like to keep expanding the definition of what my sound is.”

Anjimile primarily recorded The King in Los Angeles with producer Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes, Kacey Musgraves). Anjimile’s guitar playing and vocals comprise the majority of the sounds on the album, though there are a few additional contributions from Justine Bowe, Brad Allen Williams, Sam Gendel, and Big Thief’s James Krivchenia.

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