Published Apr 01, 2020I'm Your Empress Of, the third album by Honduran-American artist Lorely Rodriguez under her moniker Empress Of, is a collection of funky R&B and synth-heavy dream pop that evokes sun-kissed summer evenings and neon-lit city nights. Entirely recorded in Rodriguez's small Highland Park studio, the record is pointedly not a collaborative effort, and instead provides her with space for her musical and lyrical talents to blossom on their own.
Her mother's voice is woven throughout, although sometimes treated and distorted, offering wisdom about the difficulties of being a woman and the nonverbal power of love. These warm personal touches give the album a feeling of cohesion, that these songs have a stronger impact when listened to one after the other.
Empress Of is particularly adept at simultaneously exuding aloof coolness and tender vulnerability, much like her sometime-collaborator Blood Orange. Her lyrics often display insecurity, as when she sings "I lean against you like I'm leaning on a wall that's never going to fall down" in "Bit of Rain" or when she pleads for forgiveness on "Give Me Another Chance," yet Rodriguez never sounds unsure of herself, remaining grounded by her understated confidence. At times her soaring, floating voice sounds like Elizabeth Fraser from Cocteau Twins, and holds just as much sparkling emotion as the Scottish singer's.
I'm Your Empress Of finds a perfect balance between funky percussion, understated synths, and twisting, fractured melodies delivered with remarkable emotional directness. It is not surprising that Empress Of has produced yet another gorgeous and memorable collection of songs, yet her consistency does not diminish the unique achievements of this album. This is a perfect album for finding comfort and beauty in the things and people closest to you. (Terrible)