A Catchy, Eclectic Debut
New York-based singer-songwriter Lorely Rodriguez, now known as Empress Of, is emerging with her debut album Me. It’s a minimalist, eclectic plethora of mostly sugary-sweet and catchy tracks, aptly accompanied by Rodriguez’s cool and whimsical vocals.
Me is airy and amorphous, filled with empty, floating space and wandering moments of crisp percussion. The album is slightly reminiscent of the work of pop artist Banks, albeit less moody and tempestuous and more upbeat and clean-cut in terms of production. “How Do You Do It” is subtly trippy, putting one into a hypnotic trance with Rodriguez’s soaring high notes and well selected sound effects. Similarly, “Everything is You” is a vocal journey shared between Rodriguez and the listener. The erratic and zig-zagged melody of the track sets the tone for the rest of the album; it’s a musical seismometer, shaky and unsure, never staying in the same place.
On “To Get By”, Rodriguez openly pines for some form of lost love, her longing lyrics mixed with uncharacteristically upbeat bass notes. The track closes with the sound effect of rain, a surprisingly pleasing outro. “Kitty Kat” is rather jarring, a ballad of strength and resilience. “Don’t kitty kitty cat me / Like I’m just your pussy”, Rodriguez croons, the pleasant melody of her voice contradicting the punchy combativeness of the words she sings. “Make Up” is similarly edgy and no-holds-barred, except this time around Rodriguez takes on a more love-struck tone than the confrontational one taken in “Kitty Kat”.
Me is an impressive debut effort, and aptly named considering the fact that it was written, produced and performed all by Rodriguez. Although her saccharine vocals and the bevy of swirling and sporadic synthesized notes and percussion may get overwhelming at times, the catchiness and ingenuity of the album manages to trump all else.