GENRES: Pop Music, Electronic Pop
TOP TRACKS: Royals, Tennis Court, Team, A World Alone
Behind Miley Cyrus this past week, Lorde is the most talked about and exciting pop artist on the charts right now. With her debut album, Pure Heroine, the 16 year old New Zealand phenom has already turned the heads of just about everyone in the commercial music industry as her music has finally charted around here like the single, "Royals". As an artist, Lorde's music comes off as refreshing to me.
In the pop music industry over the years, the focus has shifted from the quality of the actual music to the public image and marketability of the artists in question. While image is VERY important for an artist, I really shouldn't even have to say that music is absolutely the main focus in the MUSIC industry. But whatever, this is how far we've come. So very far in fact that music is almost a complete afterthought. Simply look no further than stars like Miley Cyrus or Kesha who rely on crazy antics and a sleazy, "bad girl" image to attract both extreme positive and negative attention.
The old motto, publicity is publicity good or bad certainly comes to mind here. However, the quality of the music has definitely suffered. When I heard "Royals" on the radio, I noticed some very distinct differences. First of all, I had never seen or heard of Lorde upon listening to this track so I was pretty unknowing of an image or gimmick. Immediately, the vocals were very catchy and had the effect that draws in radio listeners and Top 40 fans immediately, so there was definitely mainstream potential. BUT, also the production was really, really nice. I enjoyed the beat and some of the sounds were really futuristic and clean as hell. As a vocalist, Lorde sounds a bit like Ellie Goulding but still distinct enough to be recognized as her own artist as far as I'm concerned.
I then went home and researched this new artist named Lorde and heard about her new album and gave it a listen. I had just heard The 20/20 Experience: Part 2 of 2 by Justin Timberlake the previous day and had somewhat lost my faith in pop music for the time being, but my hopes were revived by Lorde because of the quality of her songs. Sure, some of the tracks are repetitive or even a little uninteresting, but the refreshing aspects of her music including the melody and the production make this one of the better pop releases of the year.
I think some of my favorite tracks are the ones that utilize synthesizers and other electronic elements. For example the really mellow introduction of "Rib" is very ethereal and I was surprised by the strength of her vocals in comparison with the production. Overall, the elements of the actual lyricism and music aren't very deep but the production is good which is a big plus here. Also, pop music listeners are not turned off by bad lyrics. They are way past that (check out Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" as an example).
The tracks on Pure Heroine are fun and upbeat but some of them are slower and a bit darker. Either way, it's the kind of music that teenage girls will scoop up at any cost. I can already see Lorde being a HUGE star here in America. She has all of the credentials, but at the same time she doesn't have a gimmick or an outrageous marketing ploy. So far, everything we know about Lorde is that she's a fresh young singer with music that displays strong songwriting hooks and well executed beats. In my mind, that's really the point of pop music in the first place. It reminds me of singers like Madonna and even MJ. Not really stylistically but more so from an idea standpoint that shows that talent earns success.