An emotional marathon
Lorely Rodriguez, known as Empress Of on stage, surprised the indie world in 2015 with the release of her first album titled Me. The album was a one-woman show from start to finish and gave her fans a look into the life of a strong, independent woman. Parts of Me were in fact hard to swallow and a bit emotional, but with Us, there is a lightness that comes over Rodriguez while she expresses her take on sharing a world with someone else and the give and take of relationships.
Unlike her first album, Us has added help from Devonte Hynes, also known as Blood Orange, DJ group DJDS and Spanish producer Pional. Empress Of has been categorized as R&B and indie pop but on Us, she takes her music to the next level, an intimate, highly matured visual alternative that takes time to digest. All based around the ideals of love, Us screams affection from its core as Rodriguez tries her hand at Cupid’s game.
The ten-track album starts with a heavy hitter titled “Everything To Me.” The song ends with a spoken word from Blood Orange in classic Prince fashion. “Just The Same” cues the overpowering feelings true love brings on within one’s heart. Rodriguez goes from note to note smoothly and effortlessly. The first bilingual track on Us, “Trust Me Baby,” is all in the title. The song darts back and forth with an unsure lover. The uncertainty finds its home in the track titled “I Don’t Even Smoke Weed” where Rodriguez goes on to explain that smoking weed isn’t necessary anymore because her anxieties have all flown away from her over-pouring emotions.
“I’ve Got Love” combines a hypnotic beat and space-age rhythms to create a dance anthem all about love. “When I’m With Him” takes the album to a whole other level. While love is still the overlying theme, lost love comes into play in one of the last tracks of the album. Rodriguez sings, “You found me lost / Love me like a desert rain / I tried to fight / But I just don’t feel the same / I feel possessed / I speak but can’t express / I lay in bed / Replaying life we once lived.” An electronic beat, guitar and a keyboard on repeat allow the song to flow gently through the listener’s ears. The song, though sounding like the next big indie hit, is oozing with broken emotions from start to finish. Us in whole is an emotional rollercoaster that is vibrant with colors and reckless with relationship thrills.