Lorde Album Review: Pure Heroine (2013)

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Pure Heroine, the first album from Lorde.

In green is my opinion. I am not too familiar with Lorde. I understand that she recorded this album at a young age, and I have heard a couple of her songs. I am willing to give her a shot, as she is early in her career and doesn’t sound like a computer.

In blue is my cousin Robert’s opinion. Every time he turns on the TV or radio, he hears Lorde and it irritates him. It’s safe to say that he isn’t a fan of Lorde at face value.

Let’s start our track-by-track review!

Tennis Court

This slow-grooving opening track is a fitting introduction to Lorde’s style: Cool and collected. Her silky voice has a twinge of attitude and a pinch of condescension that gives it some character. Lorde floats through this song vocally in an almost melancholy manner. I am intrigued by this opening track for two reasons. First, the possible Chris Isaak reference. “But my head’s filling up fast with the wicked games, up in flames.” Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game begins with the lyrics “The world was on fire and no one could save me but you.” I always love me some Chris Isaak, so if this nod was intentional, props to Lorde. Second, I dig her accent. I know she’s from New Zealand, but at times it sounds like she’s straight out of Jersey. Tennis Court is a cool song.

We start off this album with a vocally chill song, Tennis Court. Tennis Court has a cool beat to it, but I find Lorde’s vocals really boring. Also, the random yeah’s that are heard throughout the song are annoying, to be blunt. All I want to do now is say “yeah” after every sentence. 

400 Lux

400 Lux is driven by a steady, air-horn accented beat. This song is about taking a drive and killing time with somebody special. The lyrics aren’t very open or complex, though they are phrased oddly, which gives them a kind of freshness. The melody of the chorus sounds very familiar, though I can’t place where I may have heard it elsewhere. Overall, 400 Lux is an average song that doesn’t have a ton of substance. Maybe it could be enjoyed more with some orange juice.

The intro to 400 Lux was a big tease. I was disappointed at the lack of a drop or explosion. Still, I dig the bass. The lyrics are really random, yet for some odd reason, they work. Any time orange juice is mentioned in a song, you know that it’s whack! I could not help myself from laughing throughout the song because of its lyrics. 400 Lux is not a bad song at all. Yeah.

Royals

Lorde trashes mainstream materialism with a song whose beat is comprised of easy snaps and subtle electronic buzzing. The chorus is, without a doubt, the highlight of the track. It’s become habitual to repeat “royals” with Lorde, and it’s always a good time. Royals does slip in its later half, however. The high-pitched singing broke the flow of the song. A failed attempt at a bridge, in my opinion. The failed bridge took away from the sardonic attitude that is present on the track. Once again, I’m digging that “Jersey” accent. Royals is a fun song, overall.

My God, this song is complete trash! The lyrics do not make sense, the beat in the back is plain, boring, and doesn’t change whatsoever. I would honestly rather listen to some crap (rap) than this garbage. There is a reason why I hate modern radio, and it is because we hear music like this. You know how I often say that songs make me fall asleep? This one does just that, except it does so for the wrong reasons. Hey, at least she did not say yeah every 5 seconds.

Ribs

I love eating ribs. Like, MEAT ribs. The SONG Ribs, on the other hand, doesn’t do anything for me whatsoever. Lorde’s attempt at a deep song about reflection and simpler days falls flat on so many levels. Her vocals, while still thick and husky, don’t hold any weight. The repetition of verses and echoing of lines was unnecessary. Ribs dragged on. I didn’t enjoy this song at all. Lorde put herself in a tough position by naming this track Ribs to begin with. It’s difficult to match the power of ribs.

Yay! A song about my favorite food! Oh wait, we aren’t talking about BBQ Ribs? Damn it! I was ready to indulge in some great meat! Once again the music bores me, but I really like the lyrics in this song as well as how deep Lorde’s vocals are. Lucky for me, when I dance at a party (that does not happen often), my ribs do not get tired. I am just that goofy guy on the dance floor.

Buzzcut Season

What the hell is this girl going on about? Every time I think that I understand what this song is about, Lorde whips out another verse that’s seemingly about something totally different. Buzzcut Season seemed to strive for a central meaning, but didn’t quite reach it. So, while the song’s beat was grooving and Lorde’s vocals were spot on, the lyrics were too jumbled for me to get into this track.

I love how deep this song is. The sounds could make me fall asleep peacefully at night. Buzzcut Season is really calm but it still retains a trippy vibe, which is why I like it.

Team

The beginning of this song was a bubbling sampling of Middle Eastern flavor with a touch of Alanis Morissette. Once the beat came in, bass loud and strong, Lorde slayed it. Team’s lyrics are solid, Lorde’s vocals are right on, and the music is smooth. Team has a Tennis Court vibe to it, and that is not a bad thing. I enjoyed Team.

Here we go again. Another terrible, overplayed song. I’m not really going to rant here about why I hate it because I would just bore myself with my own repetition. Honestly, how did we go from a trippy song to this? It ticks me off when this kind of reckless transition happens on albums. At least the lyrics make sense, unlike some other lyrics on Pure Heroine. Lorde, I am certainly not on the same team as you. As a matter of fact, our teams are rivals like the Steelers and Cowboys. Yeah.

Glory and Gore

Glory and Gore is a song that should have been picked up by The Hunger Games series in place of that horrendous rendition of Everybody Wants to Rule the World. Anywho…Glory and Gore kicks ass. Lorde has been critical throughout this whole album, but this song takes the criticism to a whole new level. She scolds society while leaving the lyrics open enough to be interpreted in various ways. Her vocals and the music pack a punch that isn’t overbearing. She gets her point across in a fluid manner. I really like Glory and Gore (the song, that is).

Glory and Gore? THIS MEANS WAR! Honestly, with a song title like that, I was expecting a fast song with intense lyrics. Instead, Glory and Gore featured relaxed vocals and an easy beat, no different from the other songs on the album. I do not like this song because I expected something different, but I could see why some people would enjoy it. It could certainly fit into certain movies and shows.

Still Sane

I’ve never taken a liking to songs written by artists about the impact of his or her fame. I understand that fame twists these artists’ lives into something that is observed and recorded and abnormal, but I frankly don’t care to listen to a song about it. That’s what interviews are for. I didn’t connect to Still Sane, neither through the apathetic vocals nor in the science fiction music.

I like the eerie music in the beginning of this song, and I honestly have to say that Still Sane is pure poetry. It is by far the best-written song on the album. Still Sane would have been perfect even if the track was solely comprised of Lorde’s vocals along with that eerie music that, for some reason, reminds me of the Legend of Zelda. I just wish the ending was smoother.

White Teeth Teens

Lorde is bold. Bold I tell you! Lorde’s vocals completely own the melody that fills all of the space over the Christmas-like beat. The lyrics to this song are stellar. White Teeth Teens may very well be the track on Pure Heroine that best showcases Lorde’s voice, both in the musical sense and the poetic sense.

I love how this time around, Lorde goes straight into the vocals. She finally sings a little higher and faster. This song would sound even better if the speed was doubled. Oh, and personal hygiene is important everyone, especially concerning your teeth. Make sure you brush 2-3 times daily because you do not want to have a bad teeth. My parents regret it.

A World Alone

As mature as Lorde is, as can be postulated by listening to her lyrics and musical style, this song reminds the listener that she’s only a young girl. Her lyrical connections to fake friends and the like lowers the scale of the song, reducing it to being exclusively about high school no matter her intentions. Musically, A World Alone is underwhelming. The track goes on too long for its own good. The lyrics, while they are celebratory, don’t pack much of a punch.  I don’t expect this girl to be scolding someone or something in every single song, but some kind of edge would be appreciated. A lackluster closing track.

Oh shoot, we actually get some guitar in a song! It’s too bad the other synthetic noises ruin it. A World Alone does have that “album closer” feel to it. The guitar may be simple and repetitive, but it truly is a breath of fresh air. It should have been used on more songs from Pure Heroine. I honestly thought this album would be complete garbage, but it was not all that bad. In most cases, you will have to give the songs a few listens to really understand the lyrics. Pure Heroine is not my cup of tea, but it is not the worst album I have ever heard. As always, thank you all for reading another review and stay tuned for more. Yeah (only Dave Matthews can say or scream “yeah” and make it work!).

My Top 3

Team

Glory and Gore

White Teeth Teens

Rob’s Top 3

Still Sane

White Teeth Teens

A World Alone

Overall, Lorde’s debut album is a small, lightly-seasoned Porkchop. Pure Heroine is ambitious in some aspects, though it could have been bolder. The writing is, across the board, neither cliched nor simple. At the same time, however, a lot of it was jumbled and vague. If Lorde flushes out most of the obscurity and tightens up her lyrics, her songs will benefit greatly. Next time around, I would hope that the beats vary more from track to track, with more dynamic elements added to them. This was a fine first effort from this rising star, but she has a lot of room to grow. Pure Heroine established Lorde’s style. Now, she needs to build and improve upon it.

I’m going to go drink some orange juice.

~Juck

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