Lorde - Pure Heroin

07 February, 2014

By Eva Nomikou


"I've never seen a diamond in the flesh, I cut my teeth on wedding rings in the movies... "


Those are the words teenage pop star Lorde sings to introduce herself to the world, while I keep tapping feet and fingers to the beat of Royals, officially crowned Grammy Song of the Year 2013. Well, I admit it, even though pop is not so much my thing, she has got me hooked and apparently I'm not the only one. We can't help but exclaim "Oh dear Lorde! Who are you and where on earth have you come from?" An easy answer is, Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O'Connor, 17, Devonport, New Zealand. A more complex answer will have to keep being written for as long as she sticks around, as we keep getting to know her better.


At first glance, what sets Lorde apart from other emerging pop stars is that she does not embody the typical pop icon. She can be both younger than Justin Bieber and wiser than Rihanna, simultaneously. She has also just won two Grammys for Best Song and Best Solo Performance, has been discussed by analysts on the blogs of Foreign Policy magazine and has had Beyoncé seek her out for a girl pic on the red carpet. Not bad for a seventeen year-old.


Pure Heroine, her debut album, is a curious mix of female strength and sheer addiction, as the title implies. In fact, the first two songs to have come out, Royals and Tennis Court, build on her indignation against the high life and the faux glory standards perpetuated by the US pop music scene. She artfully manages to merge with her audience, using "we" a lot and writing songs like Team,about disappointed girls and acne boys, living in unknown and ugly cities, competing for love. She can capture the spirit of adolescent ennui by showing that youngsters nowadays may often feel bored and broke but noone can strip them of the right to fantasy, they can be driving Cadillacs in their dreams. With that in mind, we get why Lorde is neither indie nor extravagantly pop, because she is not directly opposing the system in which she exists and apparently thrives, she simply critiques and chooses to highlight a different side of it - in her words "it's a new art form, showing people how little we care".


Musically speaking, her work is a catchy breed of tunes. She seems to be mixing elements from different styles, including pop vocals, hip-hop beats, pronounced electro sounds and bass lines, in a minimal and clearly defined whole. My personal favourites, besides Royals, are TeamandBuzzcut Season.


As for her overall persona, Lorde seems to have something of Lana del Rey, Florence Welch and Lady Gaga. Her identity incorporates elements of the weirdo and intentionally anti-perfectionist pop star, that has been shooting emerging talents up the hall of fame in no time during those the last few years. I've seen contrasting terms like "goth", "bitch", "awesome" and "smart" circling around, in an attempt of critics and audience to define her.


To sum it all up, Lorde is a creative and apparently mature teenager who has had the support she needed to express and sell her observations. Like a true pop artist, she drew inspiration from her life while reaching out to the world. After having gained fame and wide critical acclaim, her life has certainly changed. Will her music change too? My guess would be yes, but evolution does not necessarily pose a threat to identity or quality. It remains to be seen.






Primary Genre: Pop


Secondary Genre:   Electronic, Indie


Release Date:  27 September 2013


Label: Universal


Like This And You'll Probably Also Like:  Yuna, Grimes, Fever Ray, M.I.A., Daugher, London Gramma, Feist



Album Highlights:  Royals, Tennis Court, Team









Team - Live