Lorde, it's hard to be humble

SIMON SWEETMAN
Last updated 10:03 03/02/2014

Here's the best piece of writing I've read about Lorde. And it's not really about Lorde as such, it's about social media use and the media's desperation around it. It's concise. And it's spot-on. Last week I wanted to write about Lorde, wanted to defend her use of Twitter, her tweets pointing out that she had a bit of a rough time at the airport.

But then I figured you all didn't really want to hear from me on the subject of Lorde. And I didn't really want to sound out about it - not really, I felt, for a second, some obligation, some idea that because it was in the news I should touch on it too. But I didn't really want to. And I knew the futility of it - just as I know the futility of it today in this post (but hey, I'm still processing how I feel about the loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman, more  on that a bit later perhaps - meanwhile here's a scene from Love Liza scored by Elliott Smith, seems a fitting standalone tribute).

I've positioned myself in one corner with my reviews of Lorde's music. The first time I was reviewing the hype rather than the music, the second time I reviewed the music. But the damage was done with that first review. And I knew that. I'm the hater.

Since then I've used my Facebook and Twitter accounts to keep a bit of a record of Lorde mentions - all these non-stories. And every time I post them I'm called out for being obsessed. I pass no comment on them, I'm just sharing them because I'm baffled at all the mentions, all these moisty-palmed, foamy-mouthed "we've got something here" blatant non-stories. Many of them originating or shared on this site too.

Some idiot in the Herald gave her album five stars and the review mentioned that it was brave to include the lyrics in the booklet. What a crock. Some other idiot this past week, in the same newspaper, referred to her "Diva-ish" behaviour for arriving 15 minutes late to the stage. Fifteen minutes late is early when it comes to gigs and stage times. What a non-story. Why not get someone who regularly covers gigs to cover that gig? Because we're not really interested in the music with Lorde. It's moved past that already, if it was ever about that.

The next night the TV news mentioned that she had vomited before hitting the stage.

Big deal. Some people wet their pants. Some vomit. Some don't. Some travel large distances on hardly any sleep to honour gig commitments. Others just have to walk down the road. These really aren't stories - the story, with musicians, with music, is about what they did on stage or on the record.

But there hasn't been a whole lot to say about that - so people have focussed on anything else.

That vomiting incident immediately created a pregnancy rumour.

The real news sites are writing the parody pieces.

Websites, including this one, and newspapers and TV news, have all made stories out of tweets about Lorde, tweets by Lorde.

How sad.

The day after she won her two Grammy Awards this week I was asked to talk on a radio station. I declined. I normally never decline talking on radio. I love it. It's fun, and I'm pretty good at it and I'd one day like to have a show, or a regular segment - and as someone who blogs every day I'm obviously into the sound of my own voice. I'm purpose-built. Got the face for it too, right? Anyway, I turned this one down - because there's not really much more I can say about Lorde, or should say, not on the public record. Because I know people have me pegged for having said it all already. I put all my cards down on the table, apparently.

I'm the bad guy.

And yet these vultures looking for whatever can make a silly non-story about her are not the bad guys and girls. One week it's about her being really grounded and bookish and all finger-on-the-pulse with regard to pop-culture influences and what drives her. The sort of story that could be written about any number of musicians or actors from New Zealand or anywhere, teenager or not, but never is.

And then a day or two later it's to stories of diva-ish behaviour (can we please strike the word diva from entertainment writing? Its use is almost always absurd and incorrect). And though it's no surprise to see the media ganging up, creating a star - or thinking they have - and then tearing it down, the desperation to pick and pull and poke at Lorde is making her (as a subject) more boring than her music.

But even if you are so over reading about Lorde - despite somehow making it all the way to this sentence - please do read that piece I linked to above and am linking to again here now. It's a smart piece of writing. I liked it. I agreed with it. I'm interested to know what you think about it. 

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