Review Summary: It's a new art form, showing people how little she cares.
If you were somehow able to go back in time to 1988 and ask who the most promising young female artist was, you would likely get one answer: Judit Polgár. It was nearly indisputable
. Before her thirteenth birthday, the Hungarian chess prodigy was already crushing Grandmasters with an unforgiving intensity her competitors described as nothing less than staggering. Match after match, the chess genius would devastate her opponents, some of which had over 50 years of professional experience on her -- yet she would often do it within mere minutes
. Now return to the present and you get 16-year-old New Zealand indie-pop virtuoso Ella Yellach-O'Connor (stage name Lorde) doing the exact same thing in the music industry.
Making her entrance on Soundcloud in early 2013 (with little expectations for her work), Lorde quickly exploded into the music scene with her Love Club
Ep -- and the allure wasn't difficult to pinpoint either. Her sharp, critical lyrics spouting sardonic sentiments like "When you're part of the Love Club, everything will glow for you"; her catchy choruses that swelled up only to gracefully descend; and her precise, minimalist beats, dominated radio stations all around the world with listeners demanding the tracks (particularly the single "Royal") be kept omnipresent because the new pop-royalty deserved nothing less than to reign.
Now with the release of her debut record, Pure Heroine
, we're revealed the full extent of her prowess. Besides the aforementioned "Royals," the album also features previously released singles "Tennis Court" and "Team," with the former driving along with fuzzy bass lines and confident "yeahs," and the latter featuring a soaring chorus singing, "we live in cities you'll never see on screen, not very pretty, but we sure know how to run things." Yet what is more astounding is that every track provides something vital and efficient to the overall experience; it's art at its most clear and complete. No track blends together confusingly in its feeling or songwriting. Instead, each song follows into the previous as if there was no alternative way it could possibly go. Just as "Ribs" mellow hum pulses into the staccato piano of "Buzzcut Season," "White Teeth Teen"'s vibraphone rings over a chorus of Lordes, flowing into the final track, which shines as her most triumphant moment of the album. And the excellent songwriting on Pure Heroine
only makes her brilliant lyricism that much more delightful.
But this doesn't make sense to me. I have always been hesitant to give a "classic" rating until the record has stood the test of time, yet strangely I don't feel the necessity for that here at all. This girl is sixteen
years old and she's already establishing herself as potentially the most important blooming pop artist in the industry. And unlike most outstanding debuts, I don't feel like this will be her best because I mean hell, the growth I've experienced, both maturely and intellectually, since I was sixteen is unmeasurable, as it surely is for everyone. Yet here we are with a girl of her age essentially saying "check mate" to pop artists twice her age and with twice the experience. I can only sit back and eagerly anticipate her future releases because I'll be damned if they don't set a new standard of excellence in music.