Short-lived hype or the next pop superstar?
Tamsyn Wilce

14:43 25th September 2013

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After shooting to fame with her hit single 'Royals', Lorde seems to be the name that everyone is talking about and who's debut album, Pure Heroine has been one of the most anticipated of the year. 

Having stated her influences as being everything from James Blake to Nicki Minaj, it's no surprise that her album is fused with raw, powerful vocals and intricate dub-beats that give a glimmer of popstar without the skimpy outfits and tackiness. 

Lorde keeps things simple with her debut, there's no real surprises hidden away and it's only 10 tracks long, but it's obvious that a lot of care and consideration has gone into the recording process. Having been signed at the age of 12, she's made sure she took her time with writing, only putting her best work on the album, and her best work it most certainly is...

  • 'Tennis Courts': The song that catapulted the teen star into fame. The opening track is smothered in sultry tones and smooth bass lines and there's just a hint of playfulness behind the quick-snap delivery of her words. It's a familiar beginning for the listeners that should keep them enticed into what the rest of the album has to offer.

  • '400 Lux': A siren-like synth line opens '400 Lux' but there doesn't appear to be much development in the track. There isn't a big chorus', which has been prominent in Lorde's music so far, and it feels more like an extended interlude to tie the two big singles together. A little too similar to Lana Del Ray, who tends to create more yawns than hits.

  • 'Royals': The single has already received huge success both in the UK and US, which is hardly surprising when you realise just how good it is. 'Royals' is all about the voice, there's no need for an over-produced backing track when you consider Lorde's soulful harmonies that outshine even the simplest of drum beats.

  • 'Ribs': Beginning with echoing, angelic harmonies, 'Ribs' develops to more of an electronic anthem and just as you think some crazy dance drop is about to happen, you're tugged back by Lorde's distinct and mellow vocal. At first there's a worry that it's dangerously close to being too chart-friendly, but the singer has managed to stay clear of this by maintaining her style of song-writing and keeping it within her comfort zone.

  • 'Buzzcut Season': This sounds much more... pretty, compared with the previous bass-filled melodies, it has just a twinkling of piano to set the mood, with words of romance whispered over the top. It's a fairly laid back track featuring repetitive rhythms that sit quite nicely amongst the record.

  • 'Team: This track certainly incorporates a variety of influences, beginning with a delicate introduction before flowing into bass drums and claps that rock a hip-hop vibe and a chorus that depicts the style of an electro/house number. Lorde has stated that the lyrics of 'Team' are related to her trying to grow as a person and being a realistic popstar, "we live in cities you'll never see on-screen" portraying her time growing up in New Zealand, a place nobody comes from. 'Team' definitely provides the evidence that Lorde has her head screwed on right, already defining her sound and differentiating herself from other female artists.

  • 'Glory and Gore': Taking things down to a whole other level, 'Glory and Gore' is more dark, more haunting. It's interesting to discover a teenage popstar who's voice is well beyond her years, there's no pink and glitter masking her talent and this song adds a kind of sexiness with little effort. It's a bit dirty and has an edge about it without sounding too try-hard, which is really refreshing to hear in a pop record. Though, we feel a little wrong calling it sexy when you remember she's barely out of school.

  • 'Still Sane': Lorde has previously mentioned her struggles with coming to terms with her sudden rise to fame and how she's determined to not end up a train wreck like so many young stars. 'Still Sane' opens up her opinions on the topic a little more, "I'm little but I'm coming for the crowd / I'm little but I'm coming for the title held by everyone who's up." There's nothing outstanding in regards to the production, but her strong lyrical stature compliments it hugely.

  • 'White Teeth Teens': Military pounding drums and layered vocal harmonies with a shimmy of tambourines makes 'White Teeth Teens' sound like it fell out of a sixties pop record, but with a modern twist of electronics to give it the oomph it needs. The impressive section comes at the end though, where choir-like vocals echo around your ears as if acapella. Certainly one to keep an eye out for in Lorde's live performances.

  • 'A World Alone': Instruments aren't something Lorde seems overly fussed about, with usually needing nothing than a repetitive drum beat to match her trailing vocal. However 'A World Alone' sees the singer introduce a sweet and swift guitar line and effects to create a more poppy number. It's a slight pick-me-up before the album draws to a close and definitely one of the highlights of the album.

  • Verdict: Though she still has a bit of growing to do in regards to becoming a woman, it's fair to say that Lorde has fully established herself as an exciting young artist. Pure Heroine only provides further evidence as to why there has been so much hype around her. For someone of her age, her writing capabilities are outstanding and the fuse of electronic beats and soulful vocals make for an absolute triumph of a debut.

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