Saturday 9 March 2013

Lorde - New Waves

Ok we’ll admit it, we’ve been rather shallow. Youthful New Zealand pop sensation type Lorde has been cropping up left right and centre on blogs over the last few months, creating a stir on the Hype Machine chart and generally being associated with words like buzz, tastemaker-love and one to watch. Even musical queen of the blog buzz Grimes has been tweeting her love of all things Lorde; but we’ve ignored writing about her. Not because of the music, which we haven’t really got round to listening to, but because of the publicity picture above. Yes sorry, we really are that shallow.

Of course as a connoisseur of new music we really shouldn’t make first impression judgements on anything but the songs. But we all do don’t we? If you saw a picture of a band consisting of four surly tattooed males with long dark lank greasy hair, tattoos, leather jackets and an abundance of beards you’ll probably have already developed a preconceived idea of the sort of music they play. (Chances are it's not going to be electropop or hip-hop). If you don’t then congratulations you’re a far better human being than most, having as 80's synth pop wizard Howard Jones once suggested thrown off your mental chains.

Now let’s take a look at that picture again; a slightly weird looking girl who looks like she’s stepped out of one of the deleted scenes from Lord of the Rings holding a rat and a snake. Frankly, things are not looking good. In fact they're looking rather scary. Our filters and blinkers went into blank it out overdrive and we decided not to listen.

Then our flimsy mind was changed in a second as Lorde uploaded another picture on Facebook (below). She didn't look so freaky here - albeit we weren't sure about having the dog there. A bit of Google searching and we found some other pictures of pre-Lorde like this from 2011 (no dog and a keyboard player who looks a bit like what Howard Jones looks like now). In fact it seems there's quite a bit out there on the internet, including acoustic cover versions on You Tube of The Kings of Leon and Pixie Lott. We decided we’d better press play and then reread the rules of pop. That's how shallow we are.

For Lorde (real name Ella) is making great pop. Million Dollar Bills judders like a d-i-y bedroom Sleigh Bells with the guitar noise button switched off, Bravado is 2013’s slightly calmer Marina and the Diamonds, and then there’s the stunning anti-extravagance anthem Royals (streaming below) with its super smooth and confident simplicity that hooks us in on first listen hook line and sinker.

Lesson learnt? Never judge a book (or musician) by its cover (or press publicity picture). Lorde has the potential to become one of our favourite new pop stars of 2013. Our ears and eyes are wide open, even if she brings a whole zoo and dresses as Galadriel, or decides to pronounce her name like those Finnish Eurovision winners.

Lorde - Royals

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