A metalhead’s take on Lorde

Before you read this commentary, let it be known that it is written from the perspective of an opinionated metal head.  Many of us have heard a metal band that writes the same formulaic lyrics as another band or seems to follow the same chord progression. The same goes for pop. With that said, new, energetic music is always welcome, but the acute ability to detect similarity in music should be noted.

So from the metal-loving perspective, we take a look at artist that has recently been grabbing attention: Lorde.

The first noticeable feature of the Australian singer-songwriter’s first studio album, Pure Heroine, is its simplicity. The album features dark synths with bass and drums. Any fan of Lady Sovereign will appreciate the stripped down instrumentation and “real” lyrics. In the chart-topping single, Royals, the singer repeats the line, “We don’t care…” after referencing luxury items, dismissing the topics of popular songs as shallow.

While Lorde’s debut has obvious similarities to modern pop — some of the melodies are simply mediocre or poorly written – the overall picture of the album has a twist when compared to anything you might hear on the radio.

In metal , just like in any other genre, we see a lot of bands and artists trying to repeat the same success of others. For instance, the metalcore breakdown practiced by August Burns Red eventually translated into auto tune and overproduced synths. At one point, they were an effective part of music. Now, they are overused and typically annoying. But Lorde has achieved something separate.

As far as instrumentation, one thing that made an impression was the occasional use of guitar. Tesseract fans could actually find common ground with the last track, A World Alone, which features the droning, repetitive use of guitar in an ambient way, just like Acle Kehney did on Altered State.

One more impressive feature was the production of the album. The album was the product of the work of Lorde and one other writer/producer, Joel Little, as opposed to the large team that is often part of the production of pop albums. Every do-it-yourself aspect of this album, even some of the artwork Lorde created, can be appreciated.

On that note, the lyrics are genuine. I’ve dreamed of a day on which the famous musician does not talk about the same topic over and over. Really, Robin Thicke’s lyrics have never been poetic innovation. Lorde’s refusal to talk about shallow topics is a breath of fresh air. When she does talk about them, it seems to be either satirical or in protest.

Writing one’s own songs may take a while longer than the time at which a standard pop album can be pumped out, but Lorde will earn points for her honesty in this case. Sure, she may not survive the industry, but she can certainly gain a considerable amount of respect.

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