K.Flay ’07 pushes boundaries of indie, alternative, rock and pop in newest album ‘Inside Voices / Outside Voices’

April 7, 2022, 5:51 p.m.

With a distinct breathy, yet rough, voice, Kristine Flaherty ’07 –– also known as K.Flay –– breathes life into her newest album, “Inside Voices / Outside Voices,” as she welcomes the audience to engage with her personal struggles and inner dialogue.

Flaherty graduated from Stanford with double majors in psychology and sociology. Her interest in these subjects is evident within the album as “Inside Voices / Outside Voices” creates a meticulously crafted and compelling narrative, depicting the dichotomy of the human mind and featuring all of its fine nuances.

In an interview with Alternative Press, K.Flay expounded upon the significance of her newest album, explaining that “Inside Voices” refers to the “impulsive id,” while “Outside Voices” embodies the “conscientious superego.” Within these two individual parts of the album, K.Flay attempts to capture and reflect two separate parts of the human mind. K.Flay continued, “Thematically, the concept was, ‘Can I put together two bodies of work that represent these disparate parts of our psyche?’”

K.Flay’s opening track, “Four Letter Words,” sets the tone for the rest of the album with her signature guitar and distinct, alt-rock and indie-influenced beat. Flaherty describes the fallout of a “manipulative venomous” relationship; she is overcome by emotion, turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms of overdrinking and visceral anger. 

K.Flay’s following track, “Good Girl,” is thematically similar as it continues to touch on Flaherty’s anger –– this time, her desire to push against gender norms and the ever-pressing societal expectations of being a “good girl.” 

Pointed jabs at society are a constant theme throughout the album. K.Flay expresses discontent with a number of aspects of society within “My Name Isn’t Katherine,” as well as a critique of capitalism and a disillusionment with the world in “The Muck.” She also expresses her fear of the internet in “I’m Afraid of the Internet.

Throughout the album, piercing societal critiques are paired with dynamic indie-rock guitars and drum grooves. In all their loud chaos, the lyrics and the beat come together to form a euphonious harmony that K.Flay has artfully mastered throughout musical career. 

While K.Flay maintains her signature sound throughout the album, she puts a subtle, yet recognizable twist on her sound. Unlike many of her previous albums, K.Flay deviates from her typically somber, lower octave beats and instead experiments with more quick-paced, upbeat and lively ones. The resulting sound is slightly similar to Metric’s “Black Sheep” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’s” soundtracks.

The end of “Inside Voices / Outside Voices” has some of my favorite tracks from the EP: “Caramel and Symphonies,” “Maybe There’s A Way” and “Good To Drive.” K.Flay once again experiments with her sound, deviating from the rest of the album by transitioning to a softer, slower pace, reminiscent of “Mean It” and “Slow March” from her 2017 album “Every Where is Some Where.”

K.Flay creates a dynamic medley of songs throughout “Inside Voices / Outside Voices” that accurately capture the intricacies of her mind and emotions. K.Flay makes sure to tell the whole world what she has to say, just like she sings in her opening track, exclaiming, “I want to say things I’ve been keeping inside.” And that, she does. 

Editor’s Note: This article is a review and contains subjective opinions, thoughts and critiques.

Ryan Loo '25 is a columnist for the music beat in the Arts & Life section. Contact Ryan at ryloo 'at' stanford.edu

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