It seemed that 2014 was the year where women took over the music industry, whether it be Taylor Swift releasing the first album to go platinum, or Beyoncé receiving recognition for all of her endeavors. Even though Lorde didn’t release an album in 2014, her presence didn’t go unnoticed, with magazine headlines detailing her life with recent BFF Taylor Swift and her job of curating a soundtrack for one of the biggest movies of 2014, Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. While “Yellow Flicker Beat” is an epic record and definitely one of this year’s top contenders for best song, I still haven’t got over Lorde’s debut album, Pure Heroine.
Released on September 27th 2013 in the U.S, Pure Heroine landed on various ‘best album’ lists at the end of the year. Since my love for Pure Heroine hasn’t died down since its release, a proper review is in order. Lorde sounds triumphant on “Team.” Over a gritty thumping beat and production that seems to get bigger as the song unfolds, Lorde is the ruler in a world of misfits that don’t fit society’s clean-cut, popular image. “We live in cities you’ll never see on screen / Not very pretty / but we sure know to run things.” Lorde brings this world to life in a music video but her voice is enough to envision the world she’s singing about. Pure Heroine has a very somber feel throughout with a few light moments to show that the world isn’t too bad.
“Tennis Court” is one of my favorites from the record. Full of pop synths that pulsate through the dark track, you can’t help but get lost in the production and playful lyrics “Baby be the class clown / I’ll be the beauty queen in tears / it’s a new art form showing people how little we care.” I lost count of how many times I replayed this song when it first came out as part of Lorde’s EP The Love Club. “Tennis Court” is definitely one of the highlights when it comes to Pure Heroine’s production.
Pure Heroine makes me feel nostalgic for my teenage days, when my youth seemed to get further from me every day and the future was always the choice of conversation between my friends. The beauty of this album is its ability to relate to many moments we experience as we grow older, whether it be nights that are too hazy to remember from excessive partying or the relationships that seemed so monumental when they were happening. Throughout the 10 tracks, Lorde sings about the central thoughts that begin when you’re young and never seem to escape you as you grow up.
Sirens can be heard on the start “400 Lux.” The sirens catch your attention and the lyrics keep you wanting to hear the song to the end. It’s refreshing to hear songs that aren’t filled with slang that’s popular at the time or empty lyrics. Don’t get me wrong; a party record is great from time to time, but lyrical content that makes me think keeps a song interesting to hear.
There was a time when you couldn’t not hear “Royals” on the radio. At first listen, the song may seem like a shallow ode to the people that blow their money on fancy cars and high priced liquor, but there’s depth in this song. The celebrities we idolize live seemingly great lives, but the material items aren’t what’s important in life. The memories and relationships are what make life worth living. “Pure Heroine” can unleash some deep thoughts folks.
Since the production on Pure Heroine is very similar throughout, some tracks are stronger than others. After hearing this album for over a year, “Ribs” would be the track that sticks out the least to me. The lyrics are solid, but it’s not a song that I click on when I’m not listening to the album in full. There is a sense of hollowness in “Ribs” that makes it very emotional, though. “Buzzcut Season” plays on society’s tendency to ignore the horrible parts of the world, “Explosions on TV / and all the girls with heads inside a dream / so now we live beside the pool / where everything is good.” I would love to hear Lorde write more on subjects related to “Buzzcut Season.”
Lorde’s lyrical content shines toward the end of Pure Heroine. Songs like “Glory and Gore” and “White Teeth Teens” critique some of our society’s issues with violence, vanity, and imperfections. Pure Heroine ends with “A World Alone,” a gloomy track that details the hassles of this world but ends on a peaceful note with “All my fake friends and all of their noise / complain about work / they’re studying business / I study the floor / And you haven’t stopped smoking all night.”
So many artists are chasing that hit on Billboard and are forgetting about the importance of creating classic music that can last beyond six months. Pure Heroine may only be two years old, but the emotions each song conveys and overall underdog-feel of the album will never get old. Lorde is only 19, so she has plenty of time to create a masterpiece to top this album. But until then, I think I’ll get lost in Pure Heroine for a little longer.