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 Everett True

Song of the day – 643: Lorde

Song of the day – 643: Lorde
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What Scott says.

The album is great. It debuted on Rdio last week, and I’ve spent a lot of time since then listening to it. ‘Ribs’ might be my favorite, the way it bends and surges, but it’s ‘Royals’ that keeps haunting me.

I find myself drawn to the strange sparseness of its sound, the subtle, implied message that you can transcend a world of empty materialism and inherited privilege through your imagination, through the ability to create your own world.
Lorde – Pure Heroine (Lava/Republic)

In past generations, folk wanted to know what their neighbours were up to, in case they needed to splash out on that fresh coat of beige.
In this generation, people are already asking What Would Pussy Riot do?
In future generations, hipstas will be posing What Did Scott Creney Say?

I appreciate I’m probably reading too much into this, but am I the only one here who sees ‘Royals’ as a direct slap in the face to everyone in the following photograph?

Haim David Cameron

But everybody’s like:
Crystal
Maybach
Diamonds on your timepiece
Jet planes
Islands
Tigers on a gold leash

We don’t care, we aren’t caught up in your love affair

And we’ll never be royals (royals)
It don’t run in our blood
That kind of lux just ain’t for us, we crave a different kind of buzz

That’s a virtual slap, of course. We wouldn’t want to condone violence against the young conservatives on Collapse Board, would we? (Young Americans, young conservatives… plus ça change.

A comment caught my eye recently.

An excellent review and a worrying and baffling response in some quarters. Dorian L’s rejoinder on twitter highlights all that is wrong with the liberal intelligentsia. They claim the moral high ground based on a false premise, they are always always right and anybody who disagrees is either an idiot a misogynist, racist, homophobic or a mix and match of all four. To adopt such a baseless stance really does do an injustice to these very real issues. Yet here Mr. L backtracks yet offers no apology (although the best one could expect is the old “I’m sorry YOU feel like that” none apology). He fails to point out were the review is sexist or even when he adopts the fall back position where there are sexist “undertones.” Why? Because there aren’t any! He also calls the review repellent? Again why? He does very little to explain it- Because he doesn’t agree with it? I find it quite dangerous to call something that clearly isn’t – “sexist” as a way of dismissing it for want of a better argument.

It’s refreshing to see an alternative view expressed to the baffling consensus about a distinctly average band, which make blandness an art form.
El Paramore, comment left on Haim – Days Are Gone (Columbia)

Thank you, El Paramore. My tolerance for your ham-faced, retro-retroist, perky yet oddly laudable attempt at setting up Cyndi Lauper revivalist meetings has just shot up accordingly. I’ll make sure to mention it next time I’m looking for paid work.

There is joy to be had in this album, but not much smiling. I’ll never understand why people excuse empty-headed music because its creators are young, or because it’s ‘only pop music’. Young doesn’t have to mean shallow. And pop doesn’t have to be fluff. When people are making pop that is this fun, this intriguing, that gets under your skin, that has emotional/intellectual weight, that is everywhere you go but still impossible to pin down, it seems like an act of defeat to settle for anything less. To explain a record’s emptiness by falling back on its genre. To insist that anyone who believes otherwise simply doesn’t like pop.
Lorde – Pure Heroine (Lava/Republic)

Welcome to the Collapse Board Hivemind. It’s a scary place, this inner sanctum. Ten queen bees and a whole load of honey. Critics stung into silence. No one bee hives themselves. What we don’t like could be written on the back of a discarded Smiths flyer. We will change your mind quicker than you can say fuck “Peace, Love and… there is a band called Understanding, right?” Oh sorry, did I type your mind? Of course I meant our (singular). I recall, back in the day – The Family Cat it was, Melody Maker 1991… or was it The Kills, cover of Careless Talk Costs Lives #8, 2002 – I would change my mind about music and start contradicting myself, within a couple of lines. As someone better-known than me once reckoned: Contradiction is sex. Words can last a lifetime, and ours are supposed to be disposed alongside that preconception you have that music critics are on your side. No. They’re not. They’re on the side of whomever pays the most. (Oh come on, don’t whine. It’s the truth. No one ever paid music critics shit.) And if no one pays… well, that’s easy.

Fledgling would-be critic proudly points to bumper stickers that reads “We’re with Pitchfork”.

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
(George Orwell, Animal Farm)

There’s so much I don’t want to say about this song. Let it linger. Let it last. Don’t bring me down with your clumsy metaphorical grasp of a language which never should have been given to you in the first place, the way you keep disabusing it. The way it lulls, the way it entreats. The way it beats; the way it beats. The lack of shouting, the subtle point and counterpoint. The directness of the lyrics. The fact it doesn’t remind me of Kate Bush or Unwound or Van Halen. Is it unhealthy to dream? we asked only two days ago, and back comes Debbie Harry at us, carolling down through the years: all virtual arrogance and steamy wide-brimmed hats. As Scott says, we can choose to inhabit whichever persona tempts us most that second… maybe don’t stick with it, that’s all. Or maybe you should? I may have misread him. Maybe it was someone else altogether.

Let me be your ruler (ruler)
You can call me queen bee
And baby I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule
Let me live that fantasy

QUOTE FOR THE TS: 
Everett True too loves pop music. Most particularly, today Everett True loves the pop music of Lorde.

My friends and I we’ve cracked the code
We count our dollars on the train to the party
And everyone who knows us knows
That we’re fine with this, we didn’t come from money

But every song’s like:
Gold teeth
Grey Goose
Tripping in the bathroom
Bloodstains
Ball gowns
Trashing the hotel room

We don’t care, we’re driving Cadillacs in our dreams

4 Responses to Song of the day – 643: Lorde

  1. Dan October 12, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    I’m going to ignore the content of this review to mention two things this song has forced me to think.

    i. I have heard this song 5 times. All of these plays were in cars on roads in Eastern California between Bakersfield, Bishop and Victorville. Desert and mountain country. I’m not from there, I just happened to be there. We hadn’t any CDs so radio was our only ways of breaking the silence from exhausted conversation. I don’t particularly like or have any serious affinity for ‘pop music’ inasmuch as I don’t blindly love any genre of any artform, be it rock, jazz, German new wave cinema, expressionism or the naturalist novel. A good song is a good song and fuck the flag unfurled above it. That said, the music out there was particularly rancid and oafish, all bombastic sentiment and neoliberalism with a PRS guitar. This song saved our car from despair; the starkness and the space was inside and outside, it met the challenge of the beauty we were seeing for the first time whilst lacking the craven overtures that we’d come to accept as familiar.

    ii. That nagging arsehole of a postgraduate student who has read and engaged with the Frankfurt school that lives inside of me, making enjoyment difficult, would argue that this song gets just as much mileage from wealth signifiers as any songs vaunting these brands and objects ever did and as such is engaged to them in such a way that makes it difficult to separate. Indeed, the most cynical reading would place it alongside the lyrical content of 1 Direction, whose lyrics target the disaffection of their youthful fanbase now widely acknowledged and vocalised daily on Twitter, FB etc in all of their heartaching issues with money and esteem. Sometimes you have to crawl inside the machine to fuck up the message, true enough. But I can’t say that I know how many people aren’t just tripping “gold teeth / Grey Goose” off their tongues because interaction with such symbols is normalised to an extent that release is measured by the vocalisation of not having them.

  2. Scott Creney October 13, 2013 at 1:08 am

    I wish there was a like button for comments on here, b/c I like Dan’s a lot. Personally, I think Benjamin might have danced a little to Lorde (he’s a little in love with the arcades, isn’t he?) but Adorno would have retched. But then Adorno knows that’s the source of his charm.

    Anyway, I think ‘Royals’ is subversive, not b/c of its anti-materialism (which as you point out, may or may not be effective) but b/c the song emphasizes that one should choose how the participate in the consumer culture, including the choice of not participating at all. You’re not free just b/c you don’t have gold teeth. You’re free if you decide for yourself(as consciously as choice is possible, etc.) whether or not you want gold teeth.

    I don’t think it’s so much anti-wealthy as a reminder that there are other ways to enjoy yourself. ‘Life is great without a care’, as the song says. And to me, that idea is subversive.

    Don’t let the Frankfurters get you down. They just didn’t want people to get all carried away with themselves. And yes, eastern California is a trip.

  3. Golightly October 14, 2013 at 3:28 am

    But the song includes fantasizing about being rich. At any rate, I like it… and now I am listening to the Love Club EP courtesy of youtube. One of the tracks reminds me of Sleigh Bells. I like it.

  4. Joseph October 20, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    But the song includes fantasizing about being rich.

    That line, “We don’t care; We’re driving Cadillacs in our dreams,” I don’t interpret it that way; I think the line is about finding great wealth in one’s own self-worth.

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