Last fall, Lorely Rodriguez dropped her sophomore album as Empress Of, Us. The collection of gorgeous alt-R&B tracks took varying looks at relationships, including a distorted one on lead single, “When I’m With Him”. Now, she’s teamed with Perfume Genius for a new reimagining of the track.
Technically billed as a cover by Perfume Genius, it’s really more of a collaboration alongside Empress Of, who sings backup vocals, and the original’s co-producer, Jim-E Stack. In Rodriguez’s hands, the song is a bilingual, midtempo spiral in which she wrestles with being trapped in a romance that is overshadowing her own identity. For his take, Perfume Genius’ Mike Hadreas translates some of the Spanish and slows down the emotional thrust. Here, “When I’m With Him” is a fragile, powerful rumination on an empty love that highlights the sad nature of such a situation.
Captivating in a completely different way than the Us version, this new take on “When I’m With Her” is a perfect demonstration of two artists fusing their vision together for a result that transcends either of them. Take a listen below.