Last week, Perfume Genius and Empress Of both shared the same photo of the two of them, and they both captioned it, “Next week.” Although the indication was that the two would release some sort of collaboration, they didn’t make it clear what was going on. Now, we know: The pair have teamed up for a new version of Empress Of’s Us highlight “When I’m With Him.”
The song is actually billed as a Perfume Genius cover of the track, but that’s not completely accurate, as Mike Hadreas worked on this rendition with Empress Of (Lorely Rodriguez) and Jim-E Stack, who co-produced the original version with Rodriguez. While Empress Of’s rendition is a fairly upbeat and low-key funky synthpop tune, Perfume Genius brings the song closer to his comfort zone. Hadreas thrives in soaring and slowly growing ballads, and that’s what he’s turned the song into here. It gives room for his expressive voice to spread out (and meld with Rodriquez’s backing vocals) and really feel like a Perfume Genius song. A good cover should take a song to a new and enriching place, and that’s what was accomplished.
Listen to the new version of “When I’m With Him’ above, and revisit our review of Empress Of’s Us here.