16-year-old Lorde, a ‘heroine’ of her peers

New Zealand pop artist Lorde separates the wheat from the chaff on "Pure Heroine." | courtesy of npr.org

New Zealand pop artist Lorde separates the wheat from the chaff on “Pure Heroine.” | courtesy of npr.org

By BIRAL PATEL

News editor

16-year-old Lorde’s debut album “Pure Heroine,” released on Sept. 27, promotes a value that young celebrities try to stick to, but end up forgoing: nonconformity.

The album’s main messages revolve around independence, humility and confidence. “White Teeth Teens” portrays Lorde’s desire not to be like other teens. In “Still Sane,” Lorde wants to stay humble in spite of chasing her musical dreams. “Glory and Gore” encourages listeners to stand strong against enemies.

Her first single, “Royals,” consists of finger-snapping and bass drums. The lyrics convey Lorde’s contentment with her humble background and her lack of desire for the materialism and immorality Hollywood promotes.

“Tennis Court,” the best song lyrically, encourages listeners to ignore criticism. Lorde is focused on her dreams despite others’ opinions: “I’m doing this for the thrill of it, killin’ it, never not chasin’ a million things I want.”

The songs incorporate snares, synthesizer and other various sounds, including pinging, beeping, buzzing and alarms. “Team” is the best song musically with its 80’s-inspired synth sound.

“400 Lux” has alarm sounds in the beginning. The second verse begins with a Caribbean-steel-drum-like sound similar to that in M.I.A.’s Paper Planes. The song’s downfall is that some of its lyrics are indecipherable. Although the song seems to refer to a carefree relationship, some of the lyrics are ambiguous. “You buy me orange juice. We’re getting good at this. Dreams of clean teeth.”

Teenage artists tend to focus mostly on romance, whereas Lorde focuses on a theme of originality. Juxtaposed with 16-year-old Taylor Swift’s sappy lyrics, Lorde’s lyrics are refreshing and thought-provoking. “A World Alone” talks about a relationship with an older boy, but continues to drill in Lorde’s message of independence with the lyrics: “Let ‘em talk cause we’re dancing in this world alone.”

Lorde saturates “Pure Heroine” with her proclamation to remain true to herself no matter how society or Hollywood influences her; her message is clear, but unnecessarily belabored. “Royals” is enough to bring her message across clearly; with 6 of the 10 songs on the album about individualism, it leaves little room for the listener to learn about Lorde’s other values.

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