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Arts in Review

Album Review: Lorde – The Love Club / Tennis Court

The stripped down beat and minimalistic fashion with which Lorde’s “Royals” is pinned together drove me crazy for weeks. What caught me even more off-guard was the tender age of the composer (16 years old) and the contrasting mature grasp of lyrics, vocals and composition.

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By Melissa Spady (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: July 17, 2013

Lorde - The Love ClubBow down to the new queen of pop.

I was scrolling through Tumblr one day when I came across a little gem titled “Royals.” Normally, I don’t click on links or videos (I’m here for the photos of cats and trees); however, that fateful afternoon something pulled me to push play. Lorde’s (born Ella Yelich O’Connor) single off her debut EP, The Love Club hooked me from the first smooth snap, and there was no turning back.

The stripped down beat and minimalistic fashion with which the song is pinned together drove me crazy for weeks. What caught me even more off-guard was the tender age of the composer (16 years old) and the contrasting mature grasp of lyrics, vocals and composition.

I’m not one for judging a person’s talent based on age, but I remember being 16 and still having my head really far up my own ass. The fact that Lorde is already showcasing such a strong passion for music and is able to produce a sophisticated sound speaks to her skills as an artist. Grasping enough of the world to make such a pointed social commentary with lyrics like, “Everybody’s like Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your time piece/ Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash/ We don’t care, we aren’t caught up in your love affair,” prove she’s out for blood.

Tracks like “Bravado” show off the intensity her voice can hold, but the allure of another  powerful pop vocalist isn’t the only thing looming over Lorde’s music and attracting attention.

The tinkering touches of electronic beats that linger in the background show her smarts in a market oversaturated with “wub-step,” watered down bubblegum-pop tracks, and generic club music. Title song “The Love Club” breathes sweet air into the crispness of the EP, causing me to have a shoulder dance party in my car every single time it comes on shuffle (that’s the extent one can safely dance while driving a moving vehicle). She reverberates her own voice to create the mirror image of an angelic (sometimes devilish) choir to back her up. This technique serves her in keeping the overall sound uniquely and cohesively Lorde.

“Million Dollar Bills” amps up the energy enough to keep the pace moving, and the rawness of the track’s flow reminds me a little of everybody’s favourite industry rebel, M.I.A. The low point in the mix is track “Biting Down,” a meditative reflection that belongs as the finale to the delicious adventure Lorde’s taken us on. This is a song that will take time to grow on you, although once it does, it holds its own against the forwardly dance tracks.

Lorde - Tennis CourtWhat gets me about this release is not only just the infectiously minimal beats and powerfully vulnerable vocals, but the fact that Lorde executes familiar themes in her first jump off the cliff with both precision and punch. Music is not only about having all the right pieces, but knowing how to put them together. This leads me to believe that if she wrote a song about spilling a glass of milk I’d enjoy it just the same.

Coming up after The Love Club is another EP titled Tennis Court to tide us over until the inevitable full length due to hit us sometime in September. If possible, it’s even catchier than anything I heard on W, and instead of satiating my thirst for the time being, it’s created an even bigger void. I’ll be waiting to see what Lorde can do with more wiggle room than a mere two- to five-song EP along with the rest of the music industry, but I’m already preparing my bow for royalty.

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