This mellow cover of Katy Perry’s ‘Hot N Cold’ is a late summer gem

There are some songs that sound exactly like a specific time in your life. It could be the ’80s jam you and your bestie sing whenever you’re three hours in at your college karaoke bar; it could be the soundtrack of your first kiss; it could be the song you looped over and over as you cried after a life-changing break-up.

But most of the time, the songs we remember the most aren’t even necessarily the ones that meant the most to us personally — they’re the ones that were played everywhere, and thus you’ll somehow know all of the lyrics, even if you can’t remember spending time memorizing them. A few examples from recent years: “Trap Queen.” “Single Ladies.” And of course, back in the later half of 2008, Katy Perry’s “Hot N Cold.” Well now we have a “Hot N Cold” cover that will certainly come to signify September 2015.

The worst wedding song for people with cold feet.

The original version of the song served as Perry’s initial introduction into the pop world, and it caught like wildfire — since then, Perry’s clearly been on the up and up. (Hello, Super Bowl XLIX halftime show.) So it’s curious that Empress Of, the music-making moniker of producer and songwriter Lorely Rodriguez, chose “Hot N Cold” out of all the songs in Perry’s discography to cover — but after reading what she has to say about the song, as well as the cover itself, all of that makes a perfect amount of sense.

“I love [Katy Perry]. She’s brilliant!” Empress Of told Rookie, which premiered the song as part of its monthly theme “Give & Take.” “I was thinking of songs [to record for the theme], and I was like ‘Oh, I’ll do Johnny Cash.’  Then I thought about doing something direct, to the point, and really fun to cover.”

Empress Of’s take on the tune is a lot more mellow than Perry’s originally upbeat tune — the kicky melody is slowed down and frosted over with a more electronic instrumentation. Rodriguez’s voice slides above the cymbals and finger clicks, and takes this tune from beachside to late summer star-gazing. Listen below, and check out Empress Of’s original album Me when it drops on September 11.

Related reading:

Why everyone needs to see Katy Perry’s important Grammy performance

All the moments we’ll never forget from Katy Perry’s Super Bowl Halftime Show

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