Janette King
What We Lost

Hot Tramp • 2021

The Montreal-based vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and DJ’s debut LP is an album that’s fun and mournful; a celebration and a protest.

In a recent episode of the Dominionated podcast 20 or 20, host Mackenzie Cameron interviews Montreal-based vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and DJ Janette King and says that her debut LP What We Lost is “meeting the moment.” The moment being the anxious summer we are all having as we sit in parks and patios and try to reconnect with friends and loved ones all while confronted with a fourth wave, the dying earth, inequality, and late-capitalism. Just like the moment What We Lost is meeting, Mac’s characterization of the album pinpoints its multitudes.

What We Lost is an electronic and r&b album; it’s an album that’s fun and mournful. It’s a celebration and a protest. On “Change,” King echoes the slogan that continues to ring through the streets — “no justice, no peace.” Opening track “Airplane” is a break-up song with a vertiginous and danceable beat about somebody catching a flight as their former lover swirls in the plane’s contrail. But guided by the sampled voices of Lauryn Hill, Eartha Kitt, and James Baldwin, who, respectively, speak about love and boundaries, King’s reflections on love are not always as acidic as “Airplane.” “Mars” is a hot-to-the-touch tune about attraction; “Ooh Yeah” is about cutting ties with toxic people and falling in love with yourself (“now I know that I’m my greatest friend,” sings King) and has a self-assuredness that’s mirrored in “Cool Me Down,” which also features a sizzling verse from DijahSB.

Ultimately, however, the best summary of What We Lost is using King’s own words from the brightly pattering tune “Right Here”: “if you want it, you know you got it. If you want it, you know it’s right here.”

Parlour Panther