Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor, better known as Lorde, is an intriguingly different presence when compared to the overly repetitive pop sounds that have come to dominate the charts.

She’s already breaking records – as the youngest artist to secure a number one in the US Billboard chart and the first New Zealander to have achieved a Billboard Hot 100 number one (both with hit single ‘Royals’) – and her success could well usher in a new and more exciting kind of female pop star.

Pure Heroine, her debut album, is effectively an antidote to the decadent, scantily-clad world of music videos that seems hilariously detached from reality. In ‘Royals’, she rips American music culture to shreds while firmly positioning herself as an artist with a little more integrity. The album’s opener, ‘Tennis Court’, is a similarly succinct expression of her intent.

Astute listeners will probably point out that Lorde’s voice isn’t too dissimilar to that of Lana del Rey but her sound is distinct and unique, as she challenges herself to perform remarkable lyrical gymnastics. The way she leads into the chorus on tracks like ‘Ribs’, ‘Royals’ and ‘400 Lux’ displays her impressive ability as a songwriter with a clear message.

What she’s doing with this short album (the ten tracks add up to a total length that is under 40 minutes) is expressing her distaste with aspects of the music industry while never doing so at the expense of emphasising her own personality. She’s not always directing her cynical lyrics at the music business, though, as ‘Glory and Gore’ takes on our society’s preoccupation with violence and ‘Still Sane’ gives her a chance to reflect on being a teenager.

Every track is memorable and is bound to be played on repeat! The album, unlike too many these days that are just lists of potential singles, works as a cohesive whole and builds to a tremendous final track in ‘A World Alone’ – an emphatic distillation of the singer’s experiences and worldview.

Main Picture: Universal Music

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About Simon Cocks

Filter(ed) Content Editor, 23. Film and TV obsessive. Lover of words, food and photography. Follow @simoncocks

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