Praise the Lorde
The annual return to fall brings a lot to mind – chunky sweaters with mandatory pumpkin lattes in hand, muddy rain boots at showy horse races, et cetera. And of course, this is all glamorously recorded under a Valencia, or perhaps Walden, Instagram filter. Let’s face it, because most of us are guilty of it: we only like to document the most fun and impressive parts of our lives. But within this insta-culture where the need to impress and FOMO (fear of missing out) run infectious, there may be sign of a savior.
Ella Yelch-O’Connor, otherwise known by her stage name Lorde, is a New Zealand born singer-songwriter. At only 16 years, her voice resounds like a teenage Adele over minimalist beats; lyrically, she finds beauty in the ordinary. Her first single, “Tennis Court” is a refreshing yet brief take on the attention-driven mentality of our time. She opens bluntly, “Don’t you think that it’s boring how people talk?” She not only continues to criticize “people,” but she also proceeds to put herself above them: “Making smart with their words again, well I’m bored. Because I’m doing this for the thrill of it, killin’ it.” In these first three lines alone, Lorde makes her thoughts, plus her confidence behind those thoughts, very clear. Uninterested in the art of impressing others, she prioritizes her own pursuits above anyone’s opinion. This stance is heightened throughout the remainder of the song, especially in the chorus.
The most standout line goes, “It’s a new art form showing people how little we care.” Her tone is sarcastic, emphasizing the irony in pretending like we don’t care, when we really do, a lot. But while she shamelessly flaunts a striking voice and “too cool for school” attitude, it is still too early to tell whether or not Lorde has what it takes to vindicate her sharp tongue.
Her newest single however, which has already surpassed “Tennis Court” on the charts, shows promise in the young singer’s future. “Royals” upholds the same underdog ideals and cold vocals as her previous single, but it certainly sounds more upbeat and mainstream than her last. The opening lines cut through coolly and crisply, but as the song progresses, it becomes increasingly easygoing. Particularly in the hook, she playfully mocks our culture’s obsession with luxury, turning it into a little tune we can all relate and dance along to: “But everybody’s like Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your time piece. Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash – we don’t care. We aren’t caught up in your love affair.” The chorus immediately follows this teasing melody, and Lorde’s self assurance presents itself once again. The title of the track, “Royals,” becomes a double entendre here: she doesn’t categorize herself with the ‘royals’ that breathe wealth and indulgence, but she craves power, control, and ‘royalty’ in that sense.
[quote]"But everybody’s like Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your time piece. Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash – we don’t care. We aren’t caught up in your love affair."[/quote]
While “Royals” is already a hit (#8 on iTunes and remixed by known names like The Weeknd), Lorde is still young, and her musical future is uncertain. Her two singles thus far undeniably demonstrate talent and confidence, and I hope her debut album, Pure Heroine, is able to go beyond just demonstration. It’s scheduled to be released this September, but for now, you can listen to “Tennis Court” and “Royals” below – be sure to tell us your thoughts and opinions in the comments section, too!