Release Date: Oct 19, 2018
Record label: Terrible
Sometimes album titles tell you everything you need to know. Take the title of Empress Of's debut album 'Me'. Lorely Rodriguez wrote and produced everything on it. Her new album is 'Us', and as its name suggests she brought some friends into the studio. When those friends happen to be Dev Hynes ….
Lorely Rodriguez, known to most by her stage name Empress Of, has flown under the radar for the better part of five years. Rodriguez' 2015 debut album Me earned her critical acclaim, and a few quiet rumblings of being the next big thing in pop music. Though Me certainly mandated attention, her fiercely personal effort was not enough to separate herself from similar electro/art-pop acts; i.e.
While her earliest EPs took on a dreamier demeanor, Lorely Rodriguez's second album as Empress Of, Us, embraces the brisker tempos, syncopated percussiveness, and sense of spontaneity that she formulated on Me. Where it differs from the debut is in lyrics that are heartfelt but deliberately less personal than Me; its cover presents a full-color Rodriguez in an open posture as opposed to Me's black-and-white, reticent pose. Mostly self-produced and recorded, input from collaborators including Blood Orange's Dev Hynes, EDM duo DJDS, and Spanish producer Pional came later in the recording process.
There is a common misconception that pop songs are merely a matter of process and technique. The argument is if you find the right songwriters (e.g. a Max Martin or Cathy Denis) and give them the right budget, you are guaranteed a great record. The truth is never as simple as that. Critics will ….
Me, the first album by Lorely Rodriguez's project Empress Of, was an astonishing debut. In a supercrowded field, Rodriguez's production distinguished itself with all-too-rare menace and oomph, like the constant mallet hits of "Kitty Kat," or the sumptuous electro-house grotto of "Water Water." Making an alt-pop R&B album in 2015 (or any time in the past decade) is kind of like starting a fast-casual cronut chain in 2013, but listening to Me, the unlikely happens: The trend doesn't seem trendy. Us differs from its predecessor in two ways.
S inger-producer Lorely Rodriguez made a splash with 2015's Me, an album of quirky, minimal, deconstructed anthems about idealism, loneliness and empowerment. Three years on, she's relocated from Brooklyn to her native Los Angeles, but the big change in the follow-up is in the title. In what can seem dehumanising times, Us reaffirms the values of community, humanity, love and personal connection.
The new Empress Of album has arrived and its perfectly warped synth-pop production is a great statement for the musician's second studio album. 'Us', the open diary of Lorely Rodriguez, throws authentic vocals into a mix of contemporary dance beats; a combination of sounds, proven to be a satisfying mix, executed by the singer herself. It's mesh of alternative R&B, with potent drum beats create for an unusually soothing and nonchalant listen.