Top positive review
250 people found this helpful
Soft Alternative Rock Meets Hip Hop For Lorde's Debut, But Listen Before You Buy
on September 30, 2013
Two things first: the majority of songs on this album don't come anywhere close to the radio friendliness of "Royals" and this album is most certainly a grower instead of an immediate sugar rush. Best advice--find these songs on YouTube or elsewhere and really listen before you decide whether or not buying the entire album is for you. You will be disappointed if you're expecting 10 songs similar to "Royals", but if you keep an open mind then I think you can really experience something special.
Much has been made of New Zealand's 16 year old Ella Yelich-O'Connor's skyrocket ascension into the top of the charts--but when it comes right down to it--all I'm concerned about is whether she delivers. And I think she does--not in the way I was expecting, but in a way that makes me incredibly excited about her future and solidifies her as more than a one trick pony in my book. Lyrically Ella is both wise beyond her years as well as still a teenager, constantly walking a tricky balance of keen life observations mixed with insecurity and idealism.
This album is extremely cohesive both thematically and musically, relying on minimal electronic pulses and a bass line that that grounds the entire album but never takes the forefront. This enables Ella to basically do whatever she feels like with the melody and use her own voice in layers and loops to become another instrument. Ella stays comfortably in her hypnotic lower register for the most part and paired with the stark and aloof beats makes this album sound different from every mainstream young pop starlet.
But unfortunately, it means a few songs towards the middle all sound similar by lacking either a buildup or any special sound to really differentiate them. The album is essentially front and back loaded though with "Tennis Court", "Royals", "White Teeth Teens", and "A World Alone" being the must have tracks. The middle contains some growers like "Team", but the rest will have you pressing the skip button unless you just so happen to really connect to the lyrics.
That said, Ella's fearlessness in creating an album that is just so out there is commendable and pays off when she gets everything lined up perfectly. The fact that she was discovered when she was 12 by a major label actually makes me appreciate even more just how hard she must have had to fight to write her own songs (which she does) and craft an album that is all her. Her best moments scream volumes of what she's capable of in the future, and I know that I'll be along for the ride.
Ella doesn't sound that similar to any of these artists but I bet if you enjoy artists like Charli XCX, London Grammar, BANKS, Earl Sweatshirt (in attitude), Fiona Apple, Ruby Frost, or even Bipolar Sunshine that you'll at least enjoy the standout tracks here. Think lovechild between Lana Del Rey and Kanye.