Category Archives: Lorde

Rocks In The Attic #680: Lorde – ‘Melodrama’ (2017)

RITA#680Last Friday, after almost a year since it first saw the light of day in June 2017, Lorde’s sophomore album Melodrama was finally released on vinyl. Lorde decided to mark the occasion by putting her foot in her mouth and getting into a little hot water on Twitter. She claimed her faux pas was entirely accidental. Hmm…really? It was an extremely specific mistake to make…

Anyway, I’m not sure why it’s taken so long for the LP to be released. You’d think that her record label (Lava Records – a subsidiary of Universal Music) would want to capitalise on Lorde’s global success, particularly as her star started to shine even brighter, with the album going on to become Grammy nominated.

After finally getting to grips with the ‘new’ record, it’s clear why her current U.S. tour is reported to be a failure. The songs – aside from the brilliant Green Light – just aren’t there. Current writing partner Jack Antonoff looks to be an interesting proposition, a good fit to Lorde’s brand of witchy, bohemian electronica; but the absence of Joel Little on the songwriting credits is telling. Even more telling is that his sole writing contribution is on Green Light, the album’s stand-out song.

So, why did I like Lorde’s debut, Pure Heroine, so much? Was it Lorde herself, or was it Joel Little’s input – both as a songwriter and producer – that hooked me in?

Maybe only album number three will tell. At Lorde’s work-rate, we can expect that to be released in 2021 – and probably released on vinyl sometime in 2022.

Hit: Green Light

Hidden Gem: Liability

RITA#680a

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Rocks In The Attic #307: Lorde – ‘Pure Heroine’ (2013)

RITA#307Last Wednesday night I stood on Auckland’s waterfront and watched a homecoming gig by a 17-year old New Zealander who had just won two Grammys in Los Angeles a couple of days before. As far as expecting to see things like this happen again, I think seeing Halley’s Comet before we’re next due to would be more likely.

Without consciously meaning for it to be, Lorde’s Pure Heroine has been the soundtrack of my summer – just like Tame Impala’s Lonerism was the soundtrack of my winter last year. I’d like to think I’d rate her without all the hype, but then again I can’t imagine I would have heard any of her music without it.

I remember seeing the first photo of her – a publicity photo in The Listener sometime in late 2012 or early 2013. She was just a cute girl (steady…) with nice hair, sat next to a dog and a couple of words about her being someone to watch out for. But the press is always full of next big things – if you always listened to journalists about these things, you’d be constantly let down.

Then all of a sudden, Royals is #1 in the US charts for nine weeks, and then at the top of the UK charts. The scary thing though was the sheer amount of whacky covers of the song that popped up on YouTube; and then of course New Zealand’s tall poppy syndrome rears its ugly head and she starts to be shot down online and in the press. You’d think music critics (and musos in general) who usually champion New Zealand music would welcome her success, but no, they’re happier supporting the likes of Anika Moa and Dave Dobbyn. In New Zealand, it’s considered successful if you’re famous in New Zealand and New Zealand only.

On Wednesday night’s concert, she rolled out album-opener Tennis Court mid-set. It’s my favourite song on the album and every time I hear it, I always think the world’s got it wrong with Royals. Part of the success of that song must surely be the fact that it’s essentially a nursery rhyme – I mean, we can’t expect the American record-buying public to have sophisticated tastes, can we? Remember, this is the country that gave us Foreigner and Toto.

But for me, Tennis Court is where it’s at. In fact, I wouldn’t have bought the album had I not seen the awesome minimalist music video for that song. Royals may have alerted the world to Lorde, but Tennis Court shows that she can produce music that’s world-class. The rest of the album is pretty strong too. I wouldn’t say that Joel Little’s production sounds particularly cutting-edge; if anything, it sounds like early-2000s downbeat electronica out of the UK – think Zero 7; but the centrepiece is Lorde’s voice, and while she may not be as retro-sounding as Amy Winehouse, Duffy or Adele, there’s still something special about her.

One little thing I like about the production on the album is its cyclical beginning and end – with ‘Don’t you think that it’s boring how people talk’ the first line on the album, and ‘Let ‘em talk’ the final line. I love that sort of thing, very Roger Waters at the end of The Wall – ‘Isn’t this where we came in?’

I guess we now have to sit back and see what Ella Yelich-O’Connor does next. I do agree that she’s currently the antidote to the Miley Cyruses and Katy Perrys of the world, so hopefully she’ll continue down that path and avoid the pitfalls of glamour and celebrity.

Hit: Royals

Hidden Gem: A World Alone