Now reviewing this is a little strange for me to be honest, I love pop music but when it is coming to Lorde who is a native of New Zealand I feel like I am a dirty old man. This is an album released by a 16 year old that is really called Ella Yelich-O'Connor which is going around the world and to be fair, it is dominating. It is strange to watch from the outside to be totally honest. I mean it makes a change from the Lady Gaga's and Riana’s of the world, but it is still a 16 year old who is giving the world her diary for the world to read in a way. But that seems to be the way of the world these days, so will this be another album that will be famous for ten minutes and then end up in the bargain bins of your local petrol station forecourt?
From the beginning, this album shares a lot with Lana Del Rey, Lorde has a slightly higher pitch delivery and it comes across a lot better as well; and it is down to the album has only one producer. There is only one guy behind the desk, this helps a lot here. I have always found when albums have multiple producers, it tends to fall apart. This album has a perfect production background here, it is constant and at time it is very hypnotic. Now I just want to get that out of the way so I can look at the songs individually, as this is a very simple album on some ways (as a good pop album should be)......
Starting with "Tennis Court" Lorde declares that she is bored with people talking and she is doing what she is doing is for the thrill of it, it is all about making herself look big and getting attention, but it is not doing it with shock tactics to be honest. It is what teenagers are about, they want to have the world looking at them and make the world about them. I think it helps with the almost drone pop going on in the background and the confidence which Lorde brings here. Next up is the simple "400 Lux" where Lorde wants to kill time with someone who she feels empty with and it does not faze her. Now it is not the best song to be honest, and it is a little bit mopey for its own good after the positive "Tennis Court".
"Royals" is up next, it is the song which has been getting Lorde the most attention, international number one across many countries and continents as well. This was the song which was brought to my attention by one of my friends who compared it to the international hit by Gotye "Somebody That I Used To Know". Now, I cannot really see it to be honest. This song has a much looser vibe and is not half way as catchy or good if I am honest, but that does not mean that it is not a good song. It is a tale of being a star without having to be royalty and again it is a teenager being brash; but unlike someone like Nicki Minaj, it is not a done with lots of swearing or acting like a complete tool, it is clever, well written and delivered.
After this we have the hypnotic bassline of "Ribs", a song about one of those times where everything can go wrong when you grow old, now I would like to point out if she is thinking that being the age she is old, she is going to have many problems for the therapist by the time she is in her 20's. But that it is not the thing for this blog to discuss, the song is very good and it is an ode to releasing that life is not the perfect dream, even if it is being delivered by someone who has not been around long enough to be old. Then you have "Buzzcuts" that discusses makes no really sense to be honest. It is ok, but it is not really doing anything for me. The tempo has not really changed on this album apart from "Royals" it has been one track after another trying to be mysterious and moody.
Then you have "Team" which is a much welcome break from the dark periods of this record, but again you have someone here mourning the loss of youth yet the words are being delivered by a person who has not lived that long, slightly frustration. After this comes the fighting song that is "Glory And Gore" which is actually the best song for me on the album to be honest. It is much more focused and tight, there is a youthful aggression that does bring the tune to life for me here. But "Still Sane" brings the album to a halt with its slow pace and quite drama. Not a bad tune, but it does stop the momentum that had been brought back by "Glory And Gore".
As the album enters into the final two tracks of the album with "White Teeth Teens" you have Lorde not impressed with her surrounding and by the sounds of it she is in a nightclub with other people where she does not wish to be seen. The song its self is again very minimal, but nowhere near as bad as "Still Same" and that brings us to the closing track - "A World Alone". It is a song about a young lady who is realising that some of her friends are charlatans and she wants to dance with her best friend in the world alone. It is a moment of genius on this album and brings the album to a fantastic close.
Now how to say thing in a way that does not sound too much like being a dick - this is a very average debut album, there is a smack of the emperor’s new clothes going on here, but there is hope here as well. She is a decent singer and when she learns that she is not really a grown up and stops singing about being too old before her time, she will produce a stunning album (I have no doubt about that one, there is talent here). But it is not the giant slaying about to bring united joy from everyone, as well produced as it is, it is a little bit two dimension, a little too flat and not real variety here, it is well produced and has some shining moments, but it is a little short. But I have hope for the future here.....
6 out of ten - Now I see where you were going, but not quite there
You can purchase the album from Amazon here
You can visit the Lorde website here
You can listen to the album on Spotify here
Here is the US version of the video for "Royals"