By the time most of us had heard “Royals,” the smash single from teen songstress Lorde, the song was already popular in her home country of New Zealand. Since the tune went global, it has shot to the top of the Billboard Alternative Songs chart and currently sits at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Not bad for a teenager most of us had never heard of three months ago.
Now, in advance of her debut album Pure Heroine (which drops on 9/30), Lorde has released a new single, “Team,” which in my view is equally as catchy as “Royals.”
There seems to be a running anti-opulence theme with Lorde’s songs, as she repeatedly points out the glamorous futility of the pop-star lifestyle compared to where the average Joe comes from. In “Royals,” Lorde says “I’m not proud of my address / In the torn-up town, no post code envy…We count our dollars on the train to the party,” while at the same time she decries, “Every song’s like gold teeth, Grey Goose, trippin’ in the bathroom…We’ll never be royals / It don’t run in our blood / That kind of lux just ain’t for us.” In similar fashion, in “Teams” Lorde exposes the lavish life as a sort of prison: “Everyone’s competing for a love they won’t receive / ‘Cause what this palace wants is release,” continuing, “We live in cities you’ll never see on screen / Not very pretty but we sure know how to run free.” She offers a parting shot to urban pop: “I’m kind of over gettin’ told to throw my hands in the air.”
With that said, let me say I love Lorde’s music so far, and I’m really looking forward to the full album—but with two singles saying almost exactly the same things, I’m a little concerned that maybe she’s limiting her range of material a bit too much. Obviously, we won’t know till Pure Heroine is released. For now, anyhow, she’s putting out music that sticks in my brain. I’m a fan, and I’m pulling for her.