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Thursday, October 03, 2013

Lordy, Lordie, Lordé, Miss Lorde

Tributes and acclaim are pouring forth this morning for Lorde - whose single "Royals" is now top of the Billboard chart.  The article doesn't mention this is the first time a NZer has got to No.1 [UPDATE: Maybe it was 'How Bizzare'? - At least this is the first time in the internet era at No.1.]

It's a catchy, poppy, tune so I am aware of Royals - although I keep substituting 'loyal' instead when I think of it, so that it sounds less of a horribly conceited young girl's ego and fulfilment projection.  As for the rest of the songs of hers I've heard (via Grooveshark cause it's not something I would pay for): they are billed as alternative, but not to my ears.  To me this is pure contrived, manufactured, production-line pop. [UPDATE: OK, I haven't really listened to the lyrics because it's all a bit bubblegum for my tastes and I haven't got the patience to try and listen to something I'm not that into, so these are my general, prejudicial hatings for someone I know nothing of. Please, please understand that before reading further. Please also bear in mind I lived in Devonport and went to Takapuna Grammar :/]

As for her as a phenomenon, it appears that she is a creation of wealthy, ambitious and indulgent parenting and as she has spent the last five years (a third) of her life under development and under contract with an American record company, so I'm not particularly astounded or indeed impressed, with the sort of rags-to-riches/discovered-talent stories circulating in the media.  This is very, very far from spontaneous.

The phenomenon is as contrived as the name. Lorde as a stage name isn't any more absurd than Snoop Whatever-animal-it-is-today, or Eminem, but it does encapsulate where it's at for her (and her management).  The little princess from Devonport is called Lorde and her dreams are coming true by singing a song about how a little princess thinks she is a little princess - appealing no doubt to all the other little princess wannabes who are downloading her stuff like it was porn.  Not my cup of tea.  [UPDATE: Neither is listening to the lyrics of pop songs my cuppa because on the radio she says it's not at all about that. I suppose my crusty old ears are so clogged with old man hair combined with the loss of the full range of frequencies that the kids can pick up means I've only ever heard the key words of Royal and put together the logical story: want to be royals, queen bee, live that fantasy. Loyal would be much better than Royals for that tune.]

As for the physical look, my first impressions (before I knew her age etc.) was that she was a late 20s or early 30s washed up teen pop star looking to rekindle earlier success by going all Kate Bush.  She looks like, and has the demeanour and attitude, of your typical skinny white girl wanker at the Elam School of Fine Arts - maybe that has something to do with my scepticism this isn't exactly raw talent.   What else was there to see behind the thick, goth-type, make-up and the impish, self-satisfied smirk like an only child on their birthday? The only thing I was astounded by was that I later learned she was only 16!  If that's what five years of intensive preparation for stardom does then Christ only knows what five years of actual stardom is going to do. [UPDATE: Commenter disputes this - 3 years - but I'm going off what I've heard as part of forming a first impression, which includes incorrect reports as well as the carefully controlled media content.]

With the usually credible Metro editor voicing breathless radio ads like he was Michael Hill, Jeweller - pumping their exclusive interview - I do wonder about the value of the hype.  It's so not about the music. 

Had to laugh when I saw a tweet saying in the UK people are pronouncing it lordy. That's what you get for teenage pomposity.  Yes, I know I should be happy for her because she is one of us.


At 3/10/13 1:45 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So many things are off about this article. This is blogging at it's most sleazy and un-researched.

The song 'Royals' is about how the reality of the pop world (and rap world) is so far removed from the reality of everyday people. It's about how teenagers are rapping along to lyrics about their fancy cars, expensive alcohol, and opulent lifestyle, and none of it is true.
If you didn't gather this, you obviously weren't listening properly.

Her parents are not wealthy, they live in an area surrounded by state housing. They aren't poor, but they certainly don't live in a mansion.

She has not been signed for a third of her life. She has been signed for 3 years (less than a fifth of her life) And it has been a development deal which literally means 'put her in a room with a producer and see if something cool happens'. Lorde was orignally offered to record a cover album by her manager. She refused, saying she wanted to get it right the first time and create something herself.

You're disgusting to criticise her looks. Shallow.

Only child? Nope, wrong again she has 3 siblings.

And finally, her music is much more than hype. Released discretely on soundcloud, her EP was launched without any promo, advertising, marketing, whatever you want to call it. Yet, within a week of being up it had already been played 20,000 times. Before she signed the deal with her american label and released it officially in New Zealand, it had been downloaded over 65,000 times for FREE.

She's not a sell-out, or a product, or part of the hype machine. She's the most genuine thing to top the charts in a long, long while.

And you're an idiot.

You probably won't publish this because it exposes you for the seedy bully you are. But oh well. I'm sure you'll read it and evaluate your idiocy.

I'm done.

At 4/10/13 7:41 am, Blogger Phil said...

Your response? ...

At 4/10/13 8:48 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cant decide if you are a wanker, an arsehole, or merely a good ol'fashion misogynist.
Maybe a teenage girl rightfully told to you to simply go fuck yourself (as opposed to her) yesterday? Who knows. Either way, fuck you and the tiny insecure cock you rode in on. You sad cunt.

As anonymous above said, done with you too.

At 7/10/13 11:35 am, Anonymous Melissa said...

Thank you for this post.

I too find it fucking bizarre that a girl who has been in development with a major label since she was 12 years old is being touted as some kind of underground success story.

At 7/10/13 4:59 pm, Blogger Tim Selwyn said...

I don't want to bother with any research into vacuous pop songs - that's why I'm going off what I hear rather than what I search for. From what I heard it sounds as if Universal records created a character called Lorde and girls from around the world competed via this secondary market to be her and this girl from Devonport won and now she gets to be Lorde.

Look, if she actually wrote the Royals tune, if she composed it, then kudos to her. Massive kudos. It is a bone fide ear worm. If she only wrote the lyrics, not so much. If she only sings it, then even less.

As I say I'm just picking out the key words through the static... Queen Bee, Royals, be your ruler, Live that fantasy... and it is sung by someone whose stage name is Lorde and it is the debut single. What am I supposed to think it's all about?

Anon the first: "You're disgusting to criticise her looks. Shallow." - It's all about appearances, love. If she looked like the back end of an old ute - no matter how awesome her musical ability - she would never have been signed, you would never have heard of her and girl x from Whereversville would be Lorde and singing that song and you would be none the wiser. It's all a vast pan of shallow my dear. Fostering a cult of fandom - fanaticism - around a commercial enterprise is costly, but has obviously worked as you seem quite upset.

At 7/10/13 5:00 pm, Blogger Elaine said...

Lolololololololol !

At 9/10/13 11:52 am, Blogger Tim Selwyn said...

I see there's been a debate about the Royals song - the lyrics - being racist. This is a criticism from African-Americans as I understand it. As I said I'm not going to bother searching and reading the article, but I doubt the lyrics are themselves racist... however I have to point out the obvious: there is no way a brown or a black girl could get away with singing such a whingey song. It speaks to European girls around the world and therefore must be performed by a white girl to carry it off. So it is not racist per se, but the song and Universal's Lorde brand is racially-specific.

At 21/11/13 10:46 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not racist. That is a tiresome insinuation lobbed at anyone who dislikes rap. Bit like saying you must hate rural whites if you hate country & western.


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