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Empress Of writes her own script on For Your Consideration

"For Your Consideration"

Release date: 22 March 2024
Empress Of For Your Consideration cover
19 March 2024, 09:00 Written by Joshua Mills

For Your Consideration is Lorely Rodriguez's fourth album as Empress Of, but it feels like a series of firsts.

It's the first full-length released under her own label – Major Arcana – not to mention the first since the pandemic. The joys of total freedom and of reconnecting with the world at large permeate the record, Rodriguez’s most dance-focussed to date. Early stand-out “Lorelei” packs an irresistible club beat and piled-up, multi-tracked vocals, intertwining the synthetic and the organic. The dark, sultry “Femenine” (one of several tracks the Honduran-American singer performs in Spanish) is even better. The bass bubbles dangerously, the vocal track almost breathless. Appropriately enough for a project that makes repeated nods to Hollywood, high drama permeates For Your Consideration, like a wild night out with a frisson of peril.

Rodriguez has been a keen collaborator throughout her career, and two of the singles bring in guest stars for some added oomph. Closer “What’s Love” uses Muna to solid effect, their wistful approach bringing a different energy at the back end of the record. Much of For Your Consideration is performed to a greater or lesser extent in character, notably narrative pieces like the title track or “What Kind Of Girl Am I”. “What’s Love,” by contrast, is a poignantly vulnerable note to end things on, coupled with warmer, even twinkling keyboards that sparkle amongst harder sounds elsewhere on the album.

Less successful is the Rina Sawayama-featuring “Kiss Me”. With its sugar-spun chorus and heavy modern pop polish, it feels like the more interesting edges of Empress Of have been buffed off. The same can be said for “Baby Boy”, almost a Euro-dance effort. Both go some way to adding variety to the production as a whole, but neither track has the dynamic intrigue of the album’s finest cuts; they’re brasher and louder in a quantity-over-quality fashion.

Indeed for the most part, the sparser these tracks are, the more enjoyable. The album hits a real stride after the halfway mark with perhaps its three best songs, “Cura”, “Fácil”, and “Sucia”. The former, in particular, is a pared-back smash. The beat clicks and pops on a loop, the thumping bass is so deep and spare as to be percussive in itself. Rodriguez then trills out the stickiest chorus on the LP, again sonically simple but delivered with a truly idiosyncratic tone, simultaneously seductive and outright alien.

Empress Of has been making steady strides since debuting around a decade ago and it’s entirely likely the co-signs will bring in a wider new audience. One would hope, though, that any movement towards chart-bothering pop continues to be measured by the oddball, noirish majesty that makes up the album’s finest moments.

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