Ella Yelich-O’Connor, better known by her stage name Lorde, is taking both the mainstream and alternative music worlds by storm.
Look back only a few months, and Lorde’s name was simply nowhere to be found. Now, in the past month alone, she has performed at multiple large festivals, declined an offer to tour as an opener with Katy Perry and has seen her award-winning track, “Royals,” peak as the number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as the number 14 on the American Top 40 — and it’s still climbing.
Her status has escalated not only because of her awe-inducing musical prowess, but also because of the refreshingly authentic and quirky personality she has brought to the table. Despite her sudden rise to fame, Lorde presents herself in a realistic personable way, oftentimes even mourning her sudden success. When asked in a recent interview how she felt about breaking into the Billboard Hot 100, Lorde responded, “It feels like a combination of my birthday, Christmas and washing my hair after a month of not doing so.”
All of this from a New Zealand girl who is about to turn 17 years old.
This week Lorde released her first full-length album, Pure Heroine, which she not only performed but also composed and assisted in producing.
The unique blend of synth riffs, hip-hop beats and Lorde’s distinctly rich timbre make the album difficult to classify; it’s tempting to describe it as the commencement of a new genre entirely rather than trying to fit its unique sound into the box of a pre-existing grouping.
Lorde’s lyrics not only surpass what would be expected from any given 17 year old, but also from most anyone in the hip-hop world. The album’s opener, “Tennis Courts,” explores Lorde’s rejection of the stereotypes that come with her newfound fame. “Ribs” leaves listeners feeling the same haunted fear that fills Lorde when she thinks of becoming old.
By the end of the album, listeners have heard one side of what Lorde can do and are left wondering if she’ll continue to challenge herself past the pulsing pop anthems that have brought her to fame. Any future efforts from Lorde will have to display something fresh to keep listeners interested in her unique new take on hip-hop.