Lorde's fresh new sound gets pretty old over the course of a concert, a review of a sold-out London show says.
But the Kiwi singer got credit for her unique stage presence, which was compared to the zombies in Michael Jackson's Thriller video.
Following Lorde's performance at Academy Brixton, London, The Guardian's Michael Hann gave the 17-year-old three stars out of five, painting the Kiwi pop star as talented, but lacking "musical imagination".
"Her show is, literally, a little monotonous: the songs are of almost uniform pace and tone," The Guardian said.
There was a "sag" between the big songs - Tennis Court, Royals, and Team - as Lorde's voice, combined with that light, mid-paced drum pattern, washes of synth, and a "tinkly" melody line, lacked variety.
Although a "compelling performer", especially given (or perhaps because of?) her age, her "musical imagination" hadn't yet caught up with her natural talent, the reviewer said.
The Guardian also called out the double-Grammy winner on some false modesty in her in-between-song patter.
"I played Madame Jojo's and the reporters were only there because their bosses told them to be," Lorde told the crowd.
The Guardian disagreed: "She's being a little disingenuous - her London debut last year had the entire music industry clamouring to get in; she's anything but an outsider."
The Guardian gave Lorde credit for eschewing the flesh-baring path other young singers took.
Wearing a black trouser suit and white shirt, she was "a world away from the flesh-baring tropes of so much teenage pop, in a manner that clearly resonates with the younger end of her audience: there are screams when she patrols the lip of the stage".
Her dancing, although "oddly reminiscent of the zombies in the Thriller video, and the unexpected jerks and pops", were refreshingly unselfconscious.
NME reported Lorde rarely spoke to the crowd during the show, but before bringing the gig to a close she talked "at length" about shows she'd played, and her experiences around the world since her breakthrough.
But another Guardian review, this one of her show at Shepherd's Bush in London, said Lorde was "nothing short of awesome".
"She plays the album, but in a way that refreshes it, toning up the strangeness while still providing spectacle and singalongs," wrote Kitty Empire.
After the show, Lorde tweeted "THANKYOUBRIXXXXXX", with a photo of herself on stage facing a tightly-packed standing audience.
— Lorde (@lordemusic) June 6, 2014