.Karen with a K Album

Karen with a K’s musical temper tantrum

Songwriter Laura February Strange and her music partner and arranger, Scott Kail, give us an inspired and gritty album of ten rock songs that are the soundtrack of the comedy rock opera Karen with a K

Karen is the meme for middle-aged white women who have become infamous online for their displays of entitlement and white privilege. Karen with a K onstage has Karen portrayed by three actresses, each showing a different side of the anti-hero. On this entertaining soundtrack album, the band and singers rock hard and turn doo-wop sweet, driving the laugh your ass off satirical lyrics.

The Karen Within

The songs go deep into Karen’s psyche and pull no punches. In “Like Mama, Like Me,” she sings, “Nobody ever grants your wish, you gotta take it with your fists.” 

The three Karens rap, “I want to see the manager, the manager now!” In the infectious doo-wop, “Hoax,” she sings about her mother catching Covid, “Mama’s in the ICU with a hoax.” The songs expose Karen’s pain with surgical precision. As horrifying as she is, we see her humanity and feel the Karen inside us. 

The show’s author confides, “When something’s wrong, I might get in your face a little too much. I get a little too excited. I’m not good in court, I look like a lunatic. I am Karen in those situations. It’s like, ‘Why is everybody telling me to quiet down? I am quiet.’”  Strange says this very quietly. Funny woman.

“It started as a 2020 pandemic project,” she continues. “Scott and I were talking about the whole Karenism thing and we said, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if we got a band of Karens together?’ I started watching Karen YouTube videos, hundreds of them. I couldn’t stop writing songs about her. Still can’t.” 

Born To Arrange

“She’ll bring the song to me, they’re pretty much done,” says Kail. “Then, my role is to arrange it, to clean it up.” 

“I play it for him to get a response out of him. To see if he laughs,” adds Strange. “If it’s got something to it, he finds that. Scott is the musical director, I really lean on him.”

Kail chimes in with: “I’ve always felt that you could do lots of tempos, you could do lots of keys, but there’s the perfect one. The perfect tempo for that song. The perfect key for that song. The sweetest spot for the vocalist to sing. That’s part of the fun for me, to find that. You’re dressing it up.”

“For the prom,” Strange nods. “I really respect Scott’s knowledge; he’s been immersed in it since he was a kid. He had 30,000 albums at one time.”

Karen For President

It is uncomfortable that 52% of white women voted for Donald Trump in 2016. Are all Karens Trumpers?

Strange rocks backwards, “I’ve got a new progressive-Karen song; it’s a sanctimonious, tree hugging, yoga-pants-wearing Karen, who is as obnoxious as they come.” 

As far as the show, Karen with a K, Strange hopes for more community theaters to pick it up. “I’d like it to get out of my head. That would be my dream. I would love for community theaters to take the show and put it into whatever musical form they want.”

The show played in Santa Cruz last year, and Strange hopes it will be featured in other communities around the country. “I would like it to be a perennial in Santa Cruz so I didn’t have to travel, but I’d love it to get around the country,” she says.

What’s next for Strange involves a “Karen for president” campaign. “I’m going to run the three Karens against each other, have debates,” she adds. “Maybe we can keep our minds on a little bit of humor.”

If what’s left of our democracy goes down, Strange would just keep writing. “If they’re going to haul people off to prison, they’ll probably get me,” she says. “Because I’ll keep it up. At this point, it’s my chance of having a voice.” 
Karen with a K’s album is available on Spotify, YouTube Music, Apple Music, iTunes, Pandora and Amazon Prime Music. A live version of “Just a Hoax” is available on Instagram at instagram.com/p/C01zGmuRK74/

Or, scan the QR code below:

Instagram’s “Just a Hoax”

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