Don't begrudge the hoopla, just marvel at Lorde's spectacle

"Lorde's engagement across the globe is astonishing."
LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS

"Lorde's engagement across the globe is astonishing."

OPINION: The profile New Zealand's biggest music export is commanding should cause jaws to drop and hats to be tipped in respect.

But damn, ain't it so much cooler to just cut her down? 

Green Light, the first single from Lorde's new album, was released on Friday amid astronomical fanfare.

The global anticipation for the release of Lorde's new single Green Light recalls the days when a new Michael Jackson or ...
LORDE

The global anticipation for the release of Lorde's new single Green Light recalls the days when a new Michael Jackson or Madonna music video was a major event.

There were the excited squeaks and tweets from her devotees, as expected, but also a surprising number of po-faced posts on social media expressing disappointment and ambivalence due to some sort of perceived diminished authenticity. 

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It didn't seem so much that they didn't like the song, but the spectacle around its release. 

Lorde had teased new music and the world was very excited about it. How dare she. How dare she be so popular. 

"Lorde has become such a commodity."

"So sad that America got its claws into her." 

"A breakup song - how Taylor Swift."

Yes, be warned Hank Williams and every country musician ever, TayTay will be suing for copyright infringement. 

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Ella Yelich-O'Connor is not a commodity but, in the strictest sense, her music is. It means she can eat, tour and make more music. Good for her and, so long as the songs don't sound like they were only crafted to sell records, good for us.   

But so many people like to keep their poppies short and don't like sharing them. Pure Heroine was "ours" before the rest of the world caught on. Lorde was "ours", and her rise to fame was a certain kind of special.

That's over now, so deal with it and take a moment to marvel at the standing she has achieved before conjuring up a sardonic jibe. 

Thirty years ago it was an accomplishment for a Kiwi musician to reach the top of Ready To Roll (or RTR Countdown if you're a little younger) - and they were New Zealand chart shows. 

International success for Kiwi music was the stuff of myth. To hear OMC's How Bizarre play on the Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 in 1997 was like a tear in the space-time continuum. My god, Americans were listening to this song out of South Auckland. How?

Twenty years later and click on any music website of note, and near the top is Lorde and a link to Green Light or tidbits about upcoming sophomore LP Melodrama. And this is in an era of pop when the aura of the album has been pecked apart by Spotify playlists. 

Lorde's engagement across the globe is astonishing, and irrespective of whether you care for her songs or not, it's to her credit the focal point has remained the music - or the treasure hunt for it. 

She isn't having tantrums on airplanes, trying her hand at reality TV, or pimping perfume. Media and fans around the world aren't crowing over where the video was shot or how much it cost to make - they're talking about what the song's about and how it makes them feel. 

That's all the authenticity any pop song needs.

 - Stuff

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