Empress Of expands her pop sound into glitzier, dancier territory once again with the sexy, self-celebratory For Your Consideration

Release date: March 22, 2024 | Major Arcana/Giant Music | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Stream/Purchase

Empress Of is back. Four years since her last LP has made for a lot of growth and reflection. A lot can happen in that time after all and, as someone that always seems to keep it real with her music, Lorely Rodriguez is primed to give us a more grandiose presentation of her life, love, and love life. She’s bigger and badder than ever, but is she better? Me and a newer fan of hers, Claire, take a deeper dive.

David: Hey Claire, how are you doing?

Claire: Hey David!!! I’m thriving – spring’s coming, sun is out, and life’s been good. How about you man?

D: I’m pretty nice for most of the same reasons honestly. It’s been fun seeing what new releases coming out got those spring vibes and I think we’re gonna be talking about one of those here today, am I right?

C: Yesss! The queen, Empress Of dropped For Your Consideration a few weeks ago and it’s definitely heavy on the more mainstream dance pop sound I’ve been into lately. But it’s soooo damn good. It’s a hot and heavy album, super girly, and has more Spanish songs than anything else from Lorely Rodriguez. You put me onto Empress Of this year honestly, so how did you come to find her?

D: I found her with her first album, Me, but I didn’t fully VIBE with her until Us, her next one that I actually reviewed back in 2018. I really liked her more gentle, down-to-earth take on pop with tracks like “Timberlands” and “Trust Me Baby”. Everything just felt so delicate and real. It was very favorable to me during a time when it seemed like a lot of pop artists were going bigger and grander. She started to move that direction with I’m Your Empress Of which was fine because she was feeling herself more, you could tell, and it worked well. She knew what she wanted, and didn’t have any more time for anything unfulfilling and it came through in her music. Now on For Your Consideration, she’s fully in her thirties, she’s not baby Lorely anymore, and what results, as I’m sure we’ll get into, is a profoundly confident piece with a lot of sonic meat on the bone.

C: Oh my gosh yes – she’s so sure of herself with this one. For Your Consideration was birthed out of heartbreak, but honestly??? It feels the most aware and confident she’s ever been with her music.

D: Yep, I definitely think so. Empress Of’s always played with love too, a lot of pop does, but it just felt more relatable and genuine with her. I don’t think she loses that here much either. What were your first impressions going through this album?

C: Immediately I noticed so many of the songs are titled or have lyrics in Spanish! There’s a whole conversation to be had about Latin American women topping charts with Spanish-language albums. Pop’s gained more substance because of artists like Empress Of and Kali Uchis switching it up. The biggest thing I noticed though? It is – naturally – a lot different, more 🍬🦋 poppy✨💕, than I’m Your Empress Of, released 4 years ago. What hit you from her album?

D: Honestly, same. The Spanish was upped a lot on this album and even though my Spanish is trash, it reveals a new facet of Empress Of and her roots as a Honduran-American. You’re right too – the landscape for pop and its readiness to accept other languages on the US charts is something to marvel at. I’m not really a fan, but I can’t help but think of artists like Bad Bunny as well who has had pop and reggaeton in a chokehold throughout the last five-ish years.

And even still, Empress Of still stands on her own here. It’s popped-up, it’s bilingual, it’s resplendent with emotion. I really like “Preciosa” with its rumbling bass and Lorely’s catchy vocal rhythm that works really well for both languages. It’s made for sultry dancing, it’s a real sexy track. If that’s not enough, then “Sucia” dials it up a lot. The title is literally Spanish for ‘dirty’ and she has lyrics like ‘I can’t keep clean when your face is between/Cuando estás entre mis piernas’ which basically means ‘when you’re between my legs’. Girl is HORNY horny and I think it’s great to see her own it like this.

C: Your note about the Spanish revealing a new facet of Empress Of is so true! This album feels more vulnerable, like the layers are peeled back a bit more.

She’s truly herself with this album! Women in music now are more openly sexy/sexualized, but to my knowledge, it’s a choice by the artists, and I’m really loving this era of women feeling empowered in their sexuality by their own right — not because they need to play a part or be conceivable to men.

I grew up in the era where music from The Pussycat Dolls and Ciara ruled that sphere, and it was so ‘provocative’ at the time. Looking back, it feels like sexual music made for men! Empress Of gifts us with pure feminine energy — she has everything to give and nothing that can be taken. “Preciosa” takes the heat up a notch, it’s a bop! You’re right — she IS Miss Horndog on this album.

Ok let’s get the low point of the album (for me anyway) in the open: “Kiss Me” featuring Rina Sawayama feels like more of a moment for two icons to merge. Sure, the lyrics are sweet and sensual. Maybe I’m coming across as a hater right now, with my single ass ☠️ I usually expect more, lyrically and production-wise. But this is a dance album so the simple electro dancefloor beat works. Any low points for you?

D: Haaaaa, I don’t think you’re being a hater, I definitely see your point about “Kiss Me”. I expected a bit more especially with Rina contributing. This is the kind of pop that’s a hard sell for me – it’s on that romcom movie/2000s-ish radio pop tip that usually ends up feeling trite and empty. Someone will be dancing to this song at their wedding in about five years and you know what, good for them. Probably the weakest on the album for me though.

The other collaborator on this album, MUNA, is pretty nice on “What’s Love”. I like the sentiment behind it, analyzing what even is love if not something that can ‘make you, break you, shape you’. It’s dancy as well, but much more understated. The production’s light and airy, but the bass still bumps a bit. I could see this being the music for a choreographed dance art performance piece or something for sure, maybe not so much a club dance. Very reserved finish for the album, but I like it! It bookends For Your Consideration well with the title track at the beginning which has similar vibes.

C: L O L would love hearing that at someone’s wedding.

“What’s Love” with MUNA is really good, and I was pleasantly surprised by its placement as last on the album. But my first favorite part is when her vocals are iterated for the chorus. I don’t know, some shit just hits your ears nicely! Whether it’s her vocals or the help of the clean production, I loved it.

“Femenine” was my immediate favorite, based on the dance beat alone. If I don’t hear this at the clubs this summer I’m gonna kermit. She’s like, I want a feminine man, but I don’t need him. I’m making a wild but I’m sure correct guess that her fan base is majority femme/women/female-identifying peeps. I think for any man/male-identifying person insecure and out of touch with his feminine side, this song comes off as a woman wanting a man who’s like a woman. BTW I learned Spanish in school and from friends, music, movies, etc. so no claims to perfecting translations, but I love her lines ‘No te necesito a tí / Ni tú a mí / Tú y yo somos iguales.’ It’s really powerful hearing that. She wants a relationship with someone who also maintains their independence.

D: You know, I feel you on “Femenine” for sure. When it dropped as a single, I was all about it for all the same reasons you were. Again, it’s pretty sexy, talking about wanting a freaky dude who subs for her, but can also choke her a bit? Raw as fuck. None of this is particularly graphic either, it’s just about desire and acting on it like a consenting, emotionally realized adult – there’s a lot of empowerment in that agency and like you said, it’s not a desperation or NEED. I must also shout out the video for the song which is wildly expressive and queer. In a time where some people would love men to quintuple down on harmful masculine traits like sword fight bears and buy crypto in order to save humanity or whatever alpha males do, it’s shit like this that comes off as refreshing and celebratory of gender’s spectrum. Sometimes you just need a cute femboy! That’s vibes for sure. Plus, the beat KNOCKS.

C: I just checked out the video and holy shit — it’s super queer and hot. The choreography is sexy but just tasteful enough to be a tease. Genius!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the title track, “For Your Consideration”. I was curious as to why she chose the sexualized Hollywood production theme for visuals and came across Clash Music’s article where she literally spills all the tea about the album. First, I love how open she is because it makes the album resonate more. It’s fine when artists leave music interpretation to the listener’s ear but I be confused about the lore sometimes ugh 😩 But also, the fact she used her ex’s campaign name as her album title is badass. And then sings about how much fun she’s having the entire album!

D: It’s another fave of mine because I think it channels a bit more of her older, more understated sound, as does “What Type Of Girl Am I?”. It definitely sets the table thematically to your point about her having all this fun after being left out by an emotionally available dude which is probably the fumble of the century. It really is a ‘motherfucker, you’re missing out’ kind of moment for her. I do enjoy the aesthetic she had with this album’s art and promotion and I think it ties in well with how she went for a grander pop sound – very Hollywood, very California glam in general I suppose.

Speaking of, as a newer fan of Empress Of, how are you feeling about For Your Consideration overall with regards to her older stuff?

C: Exactly, California glam! It tied in perfectly with the exaggerated pop sound on For Your Consideration.

It’s funny that we talked about her a few months ago, when I got hooked (still am) on “Bit of Rain” off I’m Your Empress Of. I love the electro-pop sound on that album, so at first I thought I wasn’t into For Your Consideration. It felt too mainstream pop. BUT after careful examination and online dialogue with you my friend, I have a theory..? I guess? Like you said, it’s a grander pop sound. Plus the dramatic Hollywood prop visuals promote that world in almost a camp-y way. It’s funny and fun, it’s sexy, powerful and melodic. It’s over-the-top in her own fresh pop way. You can tell she’s grown a lot since I’m Your Empress Of, and I think she’s being artfully methodical.

She’s super confident on For Your Consideration. Empress Of always has great production but I like where she framed herself in pop with this album. I feel like you really liked this album!! How does it compare to her past work for you?

D: I did really like it. I still like her earlier stuff on Us the absolute most and I don’t think she’ll ever outdo it. That may sound unfair or harsh, but I am still totally for this newer direction of hers. I WANT my faves to grow in their own way and do what they wanna do – they have no obligation to do what I or anyone else wants, I’m either here for it or not.

That said, and I guess to begin closing things out on my end, For Your Consideration is a nice-ass advancement of her sound. I know others, even people on this very team, who aren’t feeling it and that’s to be expected if they liked her earlier stuff like me, but as long as Lorely roots her work as Empress Of in herself and what she’s genuinely going through at the time, I think it’s gonna be hard to beat. It’s like watching a friend grow a little apart from you, get bigger and better opportunities in their own life, but instead of jealousy or sadness, you feel a sincere happiness for them because you were rooting for them the whole time anyway.

C: Exactly, she’s super open about her life and artistic inspiration. Her art is her art, regardless of how fans feel.

It really is a great album and I feel you — the art is the art, regardless of its public perception. Plus growth, change, any non-linear path in an artist’s portfolio is sooo much more interesting than whatever’s popular all the time or their niche. This is a golden release from Empress Of and thank fkn goodness she dropped more this year. I’m really into dance pop these days. I’m really excited this album came before summer, because it’s already on the grwm playlists I’ll blast with my girlies.

It’s been real, it’s been fun… thanks for talking with me about For Your Consideration!

D: Hell yeah, pal. Thank you so much for doing this with me and providing your perspective 🙂

Artist photo by Kaio Cesar

David Rodriguez

David Rodriguez

"I came up and so could you, and fuck the boys in blue" - RMR

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