Empress Of – I’m Your Empress Of

Empress Of’s most intimate record yet, with the most ambitious sound.
Label: Terrible Records
Released: May 2020
Rating: ★★★★

Lorely Rodriguez’s (sort of) surprise third album sounds as snappy and immediate as it’s conception. Written in her LA studio between stops on tour, it’s Empress Of’s most intimate record yet, with the most ambitious sound.

‘I’m Your Empress Of’ brings her closer to her listeners than ever before, owing to the record’s brilliantly honest lyrics and a more spontaneous sound. Where 2018’s ‘Us’ focused on Lorely’s talent as a producer and her move into pop territory, ‘I’m Your Empress Of’ pushes that further and brings in the fun.

The record is Empress Of’s most danceable effort, in a Robyn-esque, tears-under-the-discoball way, detailing heartbreak and loneliness beneath heavy synths and percussion. The title track simmers before sprawling out into a funky Blood Orange style tune, ‘Bit Of Rain’ is a jittery dance banger about crushes and yearning, ‘Not The One’ imagines a stranger as her ex through an autotuned vocal and a sparse clapping melody.

There’s another level of connection on a more personal level, when she invites her mother to open the album with a message about her experience moving to the US, and her pride for her daughter. These soundbites drop in throughout the album as we dive further into two generations’ different experiences in life. ‘You Give It Up’ trudges and thumps before Lorely’s mum notes “being a woman is not easy”, and on ‘Void’ she references Empress Of’s 2016 track ‘Woman Is A Word’.

‘I’m Your Empress Of’ explores heartbreak, femininity, longing, struggle, and more, and the immediacy of its creation and release adds to its strength. It feels like these were topics at the front of Lorely’s mind while away from home that she couldn’t wait to get out when she returned. As her mother says in the title track, this is Empress Of representing herself in each one of us, it’s her gift.

Abigail Firth

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