Emperors is the persona of gender-fluid drag king/queen Stephen/Cassandra, who aims to break the binary of electro-pop in “untraditional dada-esque fashion.” Their rallying call of a release, ‘We Are The Emperors’, seeks to do just that.
The production immediately chirps into life. Porter Robinson-style vocalisations echo out over rising synths before dropping away as Emperors arrives. What pipes up is a smooth, sultry baritone – like a more assured John Grant. It’s a striking delivery that drips like butter over the rolling, bassy verses and cries power on the triumphant, punchy chorus.
In fact, the choruses punctuate this track with moments of catharsis. The drum fills punch boldly in New Order fashion while white-hot riffs streak by. The bold, brilliant positivity is perfect for the sing-a-long lyrics. It’s anthemic.
Across the verses, Emperors urges the listener to take pride in themselves in a series of bizarre similes, “living lives as art/golden new nobility”. Regardless, the intention cuts through. ‘Go, and be golden’, says Emperors to everyone and no one simultaneously. It’s a timeless, passionate piece of pop we could all learn to live by.
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Words by Nathan Makalena