by Will Gough
Liverpool’s favourite dark theatrical grunge act, Natalie and The Monarchy, return with their new single, ‘Envy the Villain’. Singing of previous experiences of an identity crisis while working as a professional dominatrix, Natalie Papa’s distinctive and haunting vocals sings in support of sex workers who struggle with their conflicting dominating characters of sexual fantasies and their normal day-to-day personalities. The single’s topic alone is a unique one, but ‘Envy the Villain’ serves
as yet another example of Natalie and The Monarchy’s strange but entertaining dark cabaret style.
Following the trend of their previous work, most notably the 2019 EP ‘Pretty Little Flower’, ‘Envy the
Villain’ is a powerful and strange grunge anthem that challenges popular music both with its theme
and with its unmistakable noise. Although Papa demands your attention with her powerful, icy
vocals and dominating presence, the ‘Monarchy’ that make up the rest of the band produce a
musical powerhouse that works together to create an iconic, coherent grunge sound. We don’t get
as many satisfying instrumental breakaways or solos as we were given in previous tracks like
‘Daisies’ and ‘Wise Man’, but overall the band sound just as striking as in their previous releases.
Papa’s self-description of Natalie and The Monarchy falling somewhere between grunge and
theatrics is an apt one, as the song’s music video offers a dark, strange and captivating performance.
With imagery of wilted flowers, black latex and the wanton destruction of a perfectly good cake, the
music video for Envy the Villain is just as wild, strange and awesome as it sounds, with the shock and
strangeness factor that would definitely upset your mildly conservative parents. Listening to this
song without watching the music video genuinely seems a disservice, especially as similar sinister
theatrics present in the previous ‘Daisies’ music video can also be found here.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMQVDGY_yK8 – ‘Envy the Villain’ music video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZKygCUm1vw – ‘Daisies’ music video
Overall, Envy the Villain is a dark, challenging and captivating dark-cabaret-style single that is
pleasing for just how brash and unique it is in both its theme and its sound. Natalie and The
Monarchy clearly have a distinctive sound and dramatic element that they have already made their
own, and now it’s just a question of seeing where they take us with it. Hopefully to a town near you!