Lupin offers “KO Kid,” the final exciting cut shared before the release of his self-titled solo debut this Friday. “KO Kid” is a sonic fever dream bolstered by a thunderously sluggish beat and Jake Luppen’s trademark falsetto, coyly dipping in and out of the proceedings. The production from longtime Luppen collaborator BJ Burton somehow manages to be both understated and bold, replete with keys from Frank Ocean keyboardist Buddy Ross and drums from JT Bates, whose most recent credit includes the new Taylor Swift album. The song is accompanied by a fittingly surreal claymation acid trip that perfectly conveys the anxious energy of the song, directed by Karla Mellett.
Of the song, Luppen explains: “I had the KO Kid guitar progression for a long time before I eventually worked it into a finished track,” says Luppen. “I was having a really difficult time trying to write a melody over it, so one day I decided to just improvise the vocals for the verses, which is why the melody feels more off the cuff than the other songs. The lyrics allude to the night I told my girlfriend at the time about my attraction to a non-binary friend. I’ve spent most of my life repressing my attraction to people that didn’t identify as women, so I wrote the idea of the KO KID-character as a way to fight those inhibitive and self-imposed judgments.”
Although Luppen rose to prominence as a vocalist and guitarist in St. Paul’s beloved indie outfit Hippo Campus, the songs of his debut solo album Lupin feel like meeting him for the first time. He puts it succinctly: “With this record I wanted to get to the point, and say how things were, as opposed to dancing around them.”