The album “Pure Heroine” by Lorde is, to put it simply, a music masterpiece.
Everyone knows Royals. And Royals is, even if it is Top 40, a wonderful song, and I very much appreciate it, because I am, to put it frankly, a poor girl from a poor family, and it can sometimes feel quite horrible when this society is so focused on wealth. But what bothers me is when people listen to Royals but then do not care to listen to the other songs in this album. Because they are possibly the greatest contributions to the musical world in a long time.
My favorite song, without a doubt, is 400 Lux. I love 400 Lux because it is a song about nothing at all, a song about a boy driving her home after a tiring party, a song that perfectly captures the emotional hollowness of teenagers. Because we are. So hollow. We live for small moments of thrill: when you open up a fresh can of beer and it makes that popping sound and everything seems fresh and new. That moment when you’re at a party and you’re drunk and for a moment as you throw your hands in the air time ceases to exist. She captures this perfectly in her line: “We’re hollow like the bottles that we drain.” But she then makes it more unbelievably beautiful in the most underwhelming of ways with her line: “We might be hollow but we’re brave.” Because we are. We’re not just young. We’re not just dumb. We’re brave. Braver than we know.
Honestly, its like she’s reading my thoughts. Its like she has gone to my school. And you know she captures the spirit of empty, rebellious teens so well? She’s 16 years old. It bothers me when reviewers say she has surprising depth for a teenager. Because who’s to say we don’t have depth?
Tennis Court may be one of her more popular songs, but that does not mean for one second it is not one of the best things I’ve ever heard. In 400 Lux, she captures the utter nothingness, the utter emotional emptiness of millennials, in teens, but in Tennis Court, she captures the rebellious side of that. My favorite line is: “It’s a new art form showing people how little we care.” I love that. Because we’re expected to care about all this s***- s*** that yes, in the end, as she silently acknowledges, we may regret not caring about, but its so hard to care about it all. Being good little children. All those little daily things- being quiet when the adult tells you to be quiet. Answering endless questions on endless pieces of paper. Keeping your mouth shut because you’re to young to count. And we just don’t care. We care so little. We feel so little.
Tennis Court also has that element of James Dean coolness, that element of swag, that element of slick sexiness, which makes it perfect.
I love in her song “Ribs” when she talks about fears of getting old. Many people ignore it as the fears of growing old is a rather much used subject, but, whether we like to admit it or not, our youth is something we value, something we love. For a while, it is a part of our identity, and when you’re young, even if you are emotionally empty and depressed and you party and maybe the people you love won’t matter when you get old, you shine. Then you grow up and get a job and have kids and you forget about these cares. It’s hard to let go of who we are.
Before I finish up this review, I’d like to acknowledge two more songs together, as they are very similar, though one is from her previous album, the Love Club. These two songs are “The Love Club” and “White Teeth Teens.” Both these songs are about that one group of handsome, beautiful, group of royals every school has. There have been different names for these types of groups at different schools, for example, at my high school, it’s “The Crew.” Maybe I’m wrong, but in this case, I would like to think its the name of the previous song- The Love Club. One of the best lines from this song is: “I’m sitting pretty on my throne, there’s nothing more I want, except to be alone.” She is the queen bee, the prettiest, most popular girl at her high school. Although at some time in the future, her high school popularity will mean nothing, right now she is a queen on her throne, and she appears to have everything to everyone else- looks, the popular boy, everything- but she doesn’t have true happiness, and she knows this. She (to bring back this word yet again) hollow. And you know every morning she probably gets up early to make sure she looks nice, every single morning, again and again, and for what? Approval from people that 15 years will have to think to remember her name? She’s hollow. And she knows it.
White Teeth Teens is like part two- describing the Love Club. Her line: “I’ll let you in on something big- I am not a white teeth teen.” Is a rare moment of honesty. It’s not like we… try to lie. But when we say hahaha and lol, we’re not really laughing out loud. We say things even if they’re not true to make everything good because everyday being told to be quiet and everyday living for the thrill of it, is makes everything seem not good. We keep cool on the outside (“We’re so happy- even when we’re smiling out of fear- Tennis Court) but its all fake. So in that moment she was real. She wasn’t in the Love Club, because like she says in the next line of White Teeth Teens, being in The Love Club, being in The Crew, its in the blood. This is a reference to how rulers are often chosen because of their blood- their ancestors. In Tennis Court she says “Everything’s cool when we’re all in line for the throne” and (as mentioned before) in The Love Club she talks about sitting on her throne, so she is comparing the hierarchy that is high school (That sounds rather dull- its like this. In Lord of the Flies, when left alone, a group of adolescents lose all laws of society and form a hierarchy, they let that anger, that rebellious emotional hollowness rage- and who do they put as their lord? The most attractive kid.) to a kingdom, and to truly be queen, to truly be king, it has to be in the blood- you have to be wealthy. This society is focused on wealth- you’re cool if you have the most expensive phone, the most expensive shoes, the most expensive clothes. As she makes clear in Royals, she doesn’t come from money, so she’s only fooling herself into thinking she is truly a part of the Love Club.
I will leave with this. What Lorde captures so perfectly in this masterpiece is this- We’re hollow and in many ways fake. (“I live in a hologram with you”- holograms are unreal, fake images- Buzzcut Season)We’re shallow. We party and we live for moments of empty happiness. We can be so cool, but inside, we’re so afraid. But we are also capable of love and extreme emotional depth, we have insight because we know the way this world works- we know it can be cruel and love can be cruel and people will sell out and sometimes there is nothing but numbness. And maybe we’re rebels without any cause. But we’re brave.