Brooklyn's Lorely Rodriguez, who records as Empress Of, is out with her aptly titled debut LP, Me. Eschewing the hazy, experimental feeling of her past short releases, Me opts for a more direct, minimal approach. Rodriguez wrote the songs while living alone in a small Mexican town, and a strong sense of isolation, coupled with a growing need for self-reliance, seeps through Me's synth instrumentation.
Though Me may have been born of solitude, Rodriguez knows how to stay connected — or, at least, she knows the best jams that tackle the subject. When The Week asked Rodriguez to curate a playlist for us, she responded, much to our delight, with her six favorite songs about — what else? — phone calls. "I have a playlist I listen to in my dressing room before I perform, and I noticed that a lot of the songs on it were songs about cell phones and how they play into relationships," Rodriguez said in an email. "It's such a huge part of how we interact with the people in our lives."
Below, take a listen, and then maybe go call your mom:
1. Drake, "Hotline Bling"
"This song is obviously incredible, and I love Drake. We've all been there before on either side of the phone for that particular call!"
2. Unknown Mortal Orchestra, "Can't Keep Checking My Phone"
"I love the beat and especially all of the percussion elements. I don't really know what this song is about, but I'd like to think it's about being on the road and never being able to pick up a phone call."
3. Kehlani, "Jealous"
"I love Kehlani. She's so refreshingly confident. 'I know you're taking pictures so you can show them to your b--ches.' Such a bold line."
4. Stevie Wonder, "I Just Called To Say I Love You"
"You know who calls to say they love me? My mom. She literally calls me and sings me this song."
5. Beyoncé, "Video Phone"
"A song about video phones?! Seems kinda dated now, but the beat will never get old."
6. Carly Rae Jepsen, "Call Me Maybe"
"What would a playlist about phones be without this song? [It's] one of the greatest new treasures in pop music history."
Me is out now on Terrible Records.
(This interview was condensed and edited by Stephanie Talmadge.)
Listen to "Standard" by Empress Of below:
More in this series...
Editor's note: This article has been added to since it was first published.