Single Review: ‘Royals’ by Lorde
A counter-culture artist is born…
Lorde, whose real name is Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor, is a 17-year-old singer-songwriter from New Zealand. She is starting to quickly establish her own identity with music aficionados spanning every age group with her meaningful and well-crafted lyrics that speak directly from the heart of who she is as an artist. That right there explains a lot to me why there are so many teens now moving away from listening to artists like Miley Cyrus to more thought-provoking and sensible music that Lorde has to offer.
The lyrics of her single “Royals” isn’t all about nonsensical themes that really do nothing to help broaden the tastes of listeners. Her song is surprisingly simple and sincere which provides a window to her humble beginnings and her own aspirations while growing up.
We can take for example in the pre-chorus: ” But every song’s like gold teeth, grey goose, trippin’ in the bathroom blood stains, ball gowns, trashin’ the hotel room, we don’t care, we’re driving Cadillacs in our dreams. But everybody’s like Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your timepiece. Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash. We don’t care, we aren’t caught up in your love affair. “To even listen to lyrics as poignant as these isn’t exactly the “norm” these days.
Switching to other aspects of “Royals”, I would say there was really a conscious effort to keep things to a minimum as much as possible when it came to its instrumentation. And almost everything else about this single is minimalistic in its approach too—from the simple backing drum beat to even the finger snapping in the chorus section.
All these points are really contrary to what most of us have been accustomed to hearing in other mainstream songs.
The best part about “Royals” is Lorde’s voice quality—low-pitched and husky—which is truly reminiscent of the late Amy Winehouse.
Normally, the production serves as a “boost” to make the song better in heightening the listeners’ experience. But in this case, if that method had been applied at all in the engineering of “Royals” in the recording studio, it would not have fit and most likely, it would have even worked the other way around because her voice would only have been drowned out. I say this because no amount of multi-layered sounds in the background was needed so that listeners could have a better appreciation of Lorde’s vocal work.
It really proves an old phrase “less is more.”
Everything I have mentioned and enumerated above leads me to believe we have a “counter-culture” artist who just so happens to have struck a chord with mainstream listeners looking for something different this time.
There will always be a huge chunk of music aficionados who are in search for new artists that would challenge their own definition as to what music sounds good to them. And this is where Lorde fits the bill perfectly.
Her voice alone speaks for itself.
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