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2013 debut album from New Zealand singer/songwriter Ella Yelich-O'Connor AKA Lorde. It'd be easy to mistake Ella for a seasoned tunesmith from the American South, one who carries a heavy heart that's been ravaged by careless men over time. But in truth, Lorde recorded these songs as a 16-year old Kiwi championed by the likes of Perez Hilton and Grimes. She has a timeless knack for songcraft with a sophisticated pop savvy that most people over 30 can't find without collaboration. Lorde needs no collaborative hacks -- she writes and sings her own songs. Even when she sings in her higher vocal range about teenage politics, Lorde carries herself with the grace and poise of someone like Beth Orton.
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Although there is unity in the album's overall production, individual tracks have elements that cause them to stand out. Once it gets going, "Ribs" has a pumping beat. "White Teeth Teens" and "A World Alone" have stronger, harder beats in some sections. Two tracks that I find more upbeat in mood than the others are "Buzzcut Season" and "Team". "Buzzcut Season" also has a repeated high-pitched synth sound which keeps time like a musical metronome. And oddly enough, I heard other metronomic devices. There is one in "Glory And Gore", in the second half of the track, more of a metallic clanging. And the 3 final tracks all have repeated sounds, more subtle, as background. They remind me of chiming clocks. It would seem that Lorde and her people are subconsciously concerned with keeping track of the passage of time. The first line of "400 Lux" is "We're never done with killing time." And I can relate to this because I have a hyper-awareness of time myself.
I mentioned that there is unusual pop poetry in the songs. I am intrigued by the lyrics of "Buzzcut Season": "I remember when your head caught flame/It kissed your scalp and caressed your brain/Well you laughed/Baby it's okay/It's buzzcut season anyway." I'm charmed and touched by the first lines of "Team", because they reflect a sort of old world concept that you don't encounter much today: "Wait til you're announced - we've not yet lost all our graces." The final song, "A World Alone", winds it all up on a pretty grim note: "I know we're not everlasting/We're a train wreck waiting to happen/One day the blood won't flow so gladly/One day we'll all get still/Get still." I believe Lorde is singing about all of us.
One more problem is they put the download card inside the inner paper sleeve, making some light scuffs and scratches on one side.
The download code indicates it is from united pressing. oh, no wonder.
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I was really pleased I did though - the majority of songs are beautiful and lyrical. Plus it has the added bonus of having the lyrics printed inside so you can sing along to lovely Lorde's voice knowing you are getting the words right :)
If you like the single Royals you will like this album. It's well produced which is another rarity with modern pop music, but Lorde's vocals sound sweet and clear all the way through even with the deep baselines which underpin pretty much every track here. This album It's a joy to kick back with and I recommend it highly.
Now have bought the CD - love it! Haunting and different but excellent for someone who is so young. Should do well in the future.
Not too dissimilar from my favourite artist - Melanie (Safka) whom I have followed since the 1970s. I maybe an old f*** but I still enjoy this kind of artist.
(Grimes, Sia, Foxes, Lana Del Rey, Ruelle)