Oct 2, 2013It’s that vital connection between Lorde’s present-day ruminations and the uncanny way her music hits on such a fundamental level with all that dirty, romanticized nostalgia that makes Pure Heroine such a success beyond "Royals'" ostensible aim of looking down its nose at the Miley Cyruses and Taylor Swifts of the world.
Sep 30, 2013This album is so amazing, Lorde explored a new sound, different from other Indie artists, and the result is Pure Heroine, all the songs areThis album is so amazing, Lorde explored a new sound, different from other Indie artists, and the result is Pure Heroine, all the songs are catchy, I do not get tired of hearing.… Expand
Oct 11, 2013Easily the best album of the year, I found Lorde half a year ago when I listened to 'Royals' and got hooked instantly. Incredible artist,Easily the best album of the year, I found Lorde half a year ago when I listened to 'Royals' and got hooked instantly. Incredible artist, incredible music. A+… Expand
Oct 8, 2013This album is so refreshing amongst all the other pop albums out today. Lorde adds so much depth to already unique beats through her lyrics.This album is so refreshing amongst all the other pop albums out today. Lorde adds so much depth to already unique beats through her lyrics. It is easy to listen to the album multiple times.… Expand
Oct 27, 2013I should put a little disclaimer here: this review is gonna be a bit positively biased, because as annoyed as I am by it basically becoming aI should put a little disclaimer here: this review is gonna be a bit positively biased, because as annoyed as I am by it basically becoming a selling point for her, she's 16. And considering both that I'm her age and that I'm an aspiring musician myself, I can't help but be particularly happy about her sudden success. And aside from that, her mainstream breakthrough single Royals is easily one of my favorite pop hits of 2013. It basically talks about being sick of the annoyingly recurring themes of excess & wealth that have plagued a lot of pop & hip hop music on the radio over the last decade or so. But one other thing I appreciate about it is how this sentiment is handled. This song could've easily been nothing but preachy & obnoxious pseudo-hipster drivel. But weaved within this bashing of music lacking substance & relatability is an admission that she'd love to be able to live that kind of lifestyle, but is just annoyed by these people feeling the need to brag about their possessions in the music they're selling to the masses. And now we have her debut album Pure Heroine, which could be one of my top albums of 2013 by year's end.
Royals combines a lot of Pure Heroine's best traits. One interesting thing going on consistently musically is how sparse the production is. On a good majority of the album there's nothing in the instrumental mix but an electronic beat, an atmospheric synth & occasionally some self-backing vocals with great harmonies. I get how on paper for some people this might result in an album that's boring, monotonous & void of variety. Fortunately though, things are kept interesting by incredibly catchy melodies & various tempo changes from song to song. If anything this kind of minimalist approach helps to emphasize the album's main appeal, the vocals & lyrics. But again that's not to say there's nothing interesting in what's surrounding it. Ribs has a very creative structure, starting with an ambient minute-long intro before going into a back-and-forth switching between speeds Lorde sings some of the verses in, which helps bring out a mix of emotions in the lyrics being repeated. The thing to pull it all together is Lorde's great voice, which manages to gets the ideas being expressed across effectively without the need for obnoxious belting or showing off, which are common crimes in a lot of music where the voice is the main attraction. Not only that, but nothing here is forgettable, and there's never a filler moment in this concise, 10-track, 37-minute listen.
Lyrically the main 2 themes being portrayed are biting social commentary & vivid thought processes in dealing with newfound fame. With the former, it's tackled from a few different angles. Aside from Royals & the similarly themed Team, there's tracks like Buzzcut Season and Glory And Gore, which talk about the mainstream news media's 2 opposite problems: covering pop culture & celebrity gossip instead of the real problems in the world, and exaggerating & exploiting these problems to the point where people watching either become paranoid pessimists or don't take these issues as seriously as they should. They're messages that contradict each other on the surface but make sense when you really think about it. On the more personal side of things you have tracks like Tennis Court, Still Sane & A World Alone, which detail Lorde coming to terms with her seemingly out-of-nowhere popularity. Now in most cases for me this would be questionable, since how can you talk about your big-time success on your debut album? But you have to think about the context; in New Zealand Royals was already #1 back in March, making her a very big deal in her home country by the time this album was being written. There's talk of getting on planes to tour, dealing with the pressures of scrutiny & criticism, and fearing that she'll end up just another trashy egotistical pop star. One other track worth specifically mentioning is White Teeth Teens, which details O'Connor's disinterest with being one of the perfect popular kids. Fortunately though, like “Royals”, it avoids the typical pitfalls of that kind of message. It doesn't portray these people as one-dimensional villains, but as just a different class she tried to & later gave up being a part of. And all of these themes get the messages across clear while never resorting to illiterate spoon-feeding.
I can really say nothing negative about this album. It keeps a consistent & distinct sound while never letting tracks bleed together, the lyrics are sincere, on-point & relatable, and the best part is that her song is #1, which is just another sign, if not the defining one, of balance finally being restored on the pop charts in terms of quality. If you're into these traits & have an appreciation for great pop music with some electronic influences, listen to this ASAP.
Top 5 tracks: Royals, Tennis Court, Still Sane, A World Alone, Ribs
Score: 94/100… Expand
Oct 2, 2013Lorde is still very young, and so, yes, there are some oversights, but I am so incredibly impressed by the imagery and the mood she lays downLorde is still very young, and so, yes, there are some oversights, but I am so incredibly impressed by the imagery and the mood she lays down so easily. Disturbed suburbia, too-good-to-be-true bland teenage years. What a specific thing, but it's such a triumph. Buzzcut Season is my favourite.… Expand
Oct 4, 2013I've had this on repeat for a couple of days. Lorde's debut is great and fairly unique (although I'd compare it to Lana del Rey and FlorenceI've had this on repeat for a couple of days. Lorde's debut is great and fairly unique (although I'd compare it to Lana del Rey and Florence the Machine probably). The songs are very catchy.… Expand
Published: December 4, 2013Throughout the coming weeks, we'll be collecting year-end top 10 album lists from dozens of music critics, publications, record stores, and other sources. Find individual lists and this year's cumulative rankings inside.
|Doolittle 25 - Pixies|
|The Velvet Underground [45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition] - The Velvet Underground|
|Physical Graffiti [Remastered] - Led Zeppelin|
|To Pimp A Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar|
|Bloodstone & Diamonds - Machine Head|
|Black Messiah - D'Angelo|
|The Smithsonian Folkways Collection [Box Set] - Lead Belly|
|Bouquets from a Cloudy Sky: The Complete Pretty Things Collection [Box Set] - The Pretty Things|
|Carrie & Lowell - Sufjan Stevens|
|No Cities to Love - Sleater-Kinney|
|Constant Bop - Bop English|
|G Stands For Go-Betweens, Vol. 1 [Box Set] - The Go-Betweens|
|Sun Zoom Spark: 1970 to 1972 [Box Set] - Captain Beefheart|
|Apex Predator - Easy Meat - Napalm Death|
|Hand.Cannot.Erase. - Steven Wilson|
|The Fade in Time - Sam Lee|
|The Mindsweep - Enter Shikari|
|Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit - Courtney Barnett|
|Extra Painful - Yo La Tengo|
|Complicated Game - James McMurtry|