Hidden Gems: Man Alive! by King Krule

Michigan winters are the roughest time of the year for me; the lack of sunlight, the cold that bites to the bone, and now recently being stuck inside due to the pandemic. I get as much fresh air as I can, but as a solitary person who spends too much time on the computer, I find myself hardly leaving my apartment unless I have to. One of the things I miss most about the usual college experience is walking to class, even when it’s freezing cold, because it’s one of the only times where I’m not working and I can just live in the moment by enjoying the sights and listening to great music. I’ve discussed in the past how closely music can be related to certain times in life, and I find that’s especially true with the passing of the seasons. For me, winter is a time of melancholy music, albums that reflect the bleakness of winter days and the never-ending nights, songs that are dismal and depressing, and music that perfectly expresses the cold solitude of the season. Whether or not it’s good for my mental health, I just love how well certain music can complement the season, and I bask in the utterly dismal emotions that the pairing brings.

On that happy note, let me introduce you to my current winter favorite, the musical artist King Krule. I don’t know much about him as a person, as he’s pretty mysterious and relatively unknown, but I know that his music is incredible. I discovered his work last winter, almost exactly a year ago to the day, and it resonated perfectly with what I was feeling at the time. The first album I listened to was Man Alive! which was released on February 21st of 2020 and was welcomed with critical acclaim by the music community. It was a unique experience for me; I hadn’t heard anything like it before, and the slow, dark, and heavy tone of the album was a complete surprise. Every note of every song is hauntingly beautiful and perfectly placed. The vocals are understated and delivered with such melancholy that it’s almost seductive. It’s a kind of depressing that’s relaxing in a way, because it’s so calm and simple in it’s sadness. All of the songs blend together into one long experience of self-reflection and the lack of distinct separation creates the feeling of falling down a dark well and never hitting the bottom. The album is a rabbit hole of abstract despair, with nothing solid to grasp, just fragments of coherent thought strung together with flawless instrumentation. It’s somewhat comparable to Pink Floyd’s The Wall at times, with dismal chord progressions and lyrics that portray a character going mad in solitude. For all of these reasons, I found Man Alive! to be the perfect album for winter, and even as I write this post I’m soaking in the relaxing despair of the album. I can’t recommend it enough, especially during the strange times we’re currently living in. King Krule will single-handedly define the last two winters for me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Junior studying Computer Science. Author of the Hidden Gems column, which explores art and art styles that are often overlooked or underappreciated.

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