07 10

Empress Of Me Terrible Records

Like the running pages of a diary, Me provides a glimpse into the head and heart of Brooklyn singer Lorely Rodriguez. The simple cover and simpler name suit the music, stripped of the gloss usually associated with contemporary pop. And if the power of her voice is anything to go by, there are no frills required.

Rodriguez wrote the album during an extended trip to central Mexico, where she spent a good amount of time mulling over her life in Brooklyn. As a reflection upon the gentrification of her native city, the album follows a two-pronged path whereby her estrangement is both situational and personal. Through clever wording and visual themes, the lyrics elicit a double meaning.

In Standard, Rodriguez cries, “I’ve been living below the standard/With a hunger that feeds the fire/I’ve been eyeing your plate of diamonds,” while in Water, Water, her words depict the swelling prices of water to an aqueous slosh of synths. In both, her words are equally as political as they are romantic.

If these lyrics are a window into her soul, then Me is a glassy projection into the young artist’s struggles. What concerns her is class, but within these abstract problems is plenty of room for the personal.

However, as we dig further into the album, it becomes apparent that Rodriguez’s lyrics are about self-forgiving, too. Need Myself sees her declare, “Can I get up on my knees/and find a rhythm of my own,’ while Icon begins, “I’ve been taking too many pills to be sleeping”. Rodriguez is no saint, but she doesn’t claim to be. She is a crystalline reflection of the modern woman.