New Zealander Ella Yelich-O'Connor has recently become the queen of the American charts, her dark gaze and unruly hair captivating people's eyes and ears. Her hit song Royals, strewn across every media platform, isn't the traditional party hit. It is more refined. This 16-year-old has a clear way she wants to portray herself, and you can hear it through her music.
Like most listeners, I was shocked when I found out Lorde was only 16. Her eerie edginess makes her look easily in her 20s, but her age has definitely worked in her favor. Her naivete and Gothic, offbeat style combine for a strangely likable image. When I saw her painfully awkward Ellen performance, I waved her off as a fake just playing on people's tendency to root for the edgy underdog. But, after watching a couple of interviews on YouTube I realized she was actually relatable. Her clumsy mannerisms were charming when paired with a good sense of humor and angsty teen vibes.
Lorde's sultry vocals accentuate her spooky image, earning her comparisons to Lana Del Rey and Sky Ferreira. Her young age makes this dark glamor more interesting because it is so unique. Lorde writes songs about her friends, growing up and loneliness. Royals is trying to stress the idea that teen life isn't like an episode of Skins, it is actually quite boring. (Side note: Being a Skins fan as well as a teen living in suburbia, I can tell you the similarities are plenty.) It is more fulfilling listening to music that comes from a comparable place, and Pure Heroine offers that. Ribs is an unnerving song that builds and collapses repeatedly with the vocal track cut up and played back to create something truly addictive.
Whether Lorde will grow from the immense success of her first album or spiral into her darkness is unclear. But the potential in Pure Heroine is ready to be built upon.