At the time of this review, Lorde's "Royals" music video has 16.8 million views on YouTube and that's just the "US Version." The UK version has another roughly 13 million views. That song's dramatic schoolyard stomp, a soulful, melancholy anthem dismissing the sort of glamour presented as normative in mainstream popular music, brought her almost instantly to global attention earlier this year, despite having been signed to Universal music since the age of 13 (She's 16 now, 17 in November). For a record of ambitious commercial pop music, the music is surprisingly stark, focusing on Lorde a.k.a. Ella Yellich-O'Connor's overarchingly critical and coolly disaffected lyrics as sung by her fluid smokey voice, which only sounds its age during the multitracked sing-songy choruses which populate Pure Heroine
, her first full length. While her visual style and stylistic representation has drawn comparisons to the likes of Sky Ferreira or even Grimes (which seems particularly misinformed), the music is closer to the work of a singer-songwriter working in the idiom of contemporary electronic pop, rather than the swirling, sci-fi clubbiness of her "contemporaries." It seems unavoidable to call this record mature for a human of Lorde's age, but let's remember she's been working on this a long time, and let's hope she continues to -- Lorde could be a needed voice on the contemporary pop landscape.