A wise, worldly ponytail enthusiast once proclaimed: “I never promised you a happy ending. You never said you wouldn’t make me cry. But summer love will keep us warm long after…our autumn goodbye.”
Fall is nearly upon us. And luckily, there’s now a divine song to soundtrack the end of a great romance – or just a summer fling that’s no longer fun.
Empress Of, born Lorely Rodriguez, is a LA-based singer-songwriter who’s been making great music on the scene for some years now. She released her critically acclaimed debut album, Me, in 2015, and now the follow-up, Us, is set to drop on October 19.
Along with providing her own production on the album (she estimates she did about 70%, according to the press release), Lorely also collaborated with some exciting acts, including the incredible Dev Hynes (who just dropped another great album of his own), Spanish electronic producer Pional, as well as Sam Griesemer and Jerome Potter of production duo DJDS (DJ Dodger Stadium), who worked on Kanye‘s The Life of Pablo.
Ahead of the record’s release, Lorely just dropped the stunning bilingual lead single last Friday (August 22) called “When I’m With Him,” co-penned by Jim-E Stack and Dan Nigro, who’s co-written alongside Justin Raisen and Ariel Rechtshaid for several favorites, including Kylie Minogue (“If Only”), Carly Rae Jepsen and Queen Sky Ferreira (“I Blame Myself,” “You’re Not The One,” etc.)
That last connection is significant – and somehow I just knew it in my soul – because the track feels like a spiritual sibling to Sky’s iconic “Everything Is Embarrassing.” Dan didn’t do that one, but he’s on Night Time, My Time. And Dev’s on Us. Everything Is Connected, basically.
“When I’m With Him” is gorgeous for a variety of reasons: from the lush production perfect for introspective late night listens, to the winning, sad angel pop chorus (“I feel like I’m the outside looking in / When I’m with him…“), to the effortless alternating between English and Spanish: “Querías más de lo que podría ser / Me alejo más y tú no lo puedes ver / I feel possessed / I can’t help but repress / All of the signs / Telling me that I’m not fine.”
“I use Spanish [when] something is so personal that I can’t really sing about it in English. It’s almost like an alter ego to sing in Spanish,” she said to Fader. (Very similar to Utada Hikaru‘s Japanese-English balance! I digress…)
“I’m playing a part, but it’s getting too hard / Awake in the dark…”
In addition to being thoroughly listenable and endlessly replay-friendly, “When I’m With Him” is also a very #relatably anxious anthem – be it slowly falling out of love, or just distancing yourself from someone you never intended to catch feelings to begin with. That was also, apparently, her goal.
“It’s not just love songs. It’s about different experiences of the heart. I want it to be like a mirror, and [the audience] sees a little bit of themselves in every song,” she says of Us.
Who among us has not had the great pleasure of being unable to fake the feelings any longer? Consider myself thoroughly seen.
“When I’m With Him” was released on August 22. (iTunes)
This song is featured on the MuuTunes Spotify playlist. Subscribe!
Photo credit: Fabian Guerrero / Terrible Records