Photo Credit | Creative Commons | Krists Luhaers
Lorde, or Ella Yelich-O’Conner, grew to fame in the mid-2010s with the explosive success of her single “Royals.” Lorde’s unique vocal qualities, music production, and songwriting made her a shoo-in for pop stardom.
With three great and critically acclaimed albums under her belt, Lorde boasts a great discography. Upon further investigation, one can see the themes of Lorde documenting her personal experience with growing up.This factor is perhaps one of the most attractive parts of her discography to her listeners.
Lorde’s first record, “Pure Heroine,” is the album containing her hit single “Royals” and is regarded as one of her best. Pure Heroine follows Lorde as she details the life of a teenager, all the thrills and bores. With songs like “Ribs,” “Tennis Court” and “Team,” Lorde begins to delve into both deep friendship relationships and typical clique relationships commonly found during teenage years. In her songs “Buzzcut Season” and “Royals,” Lorde talks about the mediocrity of teen life. “Ribs” especially fits the bill of describing teenage life, detailing a party Lorde had with her friends. Where she sharing the sentiments of getting old driving her crazy and scaring her, and it shows her longing for older time.
“This dream isn’t feeling sweet/We’re reeling through the midnight streets/And I’ve never felt more alone/It feels so scary, getting old” – “Ribs”
The album’s comments upon teenage life in regards to relationships and experiences resonated greatly with her younger members, while simultaneously impressing older listeners with the depth of her lyrics.
Moving into her second major release, Lorde’s “Melodrama” begins to detail Lorde’s life as she moves into adulthood and the struggles she faces. A large component of Melodrama is the topic of partying, which is alluded to in many songs such as “Sober” & “Sober II (Melodrama),” “Homemade Dynamite”and “Perfect Places.” These songs detail the life of escapism through parties, finding thrill within, and what happens after the party is over. The rest of Melodrama’s songs explore a mature view on relationships, especially within a romantic context. This can be seen in songs such as “Greenlight,” “Liability” & “Liability (Reprise),” “Hard Feelings/Loveless,” “Writer in The Dark” and “Supercut”. From exploring how to move on from relationships to how you fit into them, Lorde delivers some beautiful takes on adult relationships.
“All of our heroes fading/Now I can’t stand to be alone/Let’s go to perfect places” – “Perfect Places”
One beautiful focal song of this album is “Perfect Places,” which talks about finding escapism in parties and illicit substances to cope with struggles of adulthood. Like feeling alone and dealing with change. It portrays a spitting image of how many older teens and young adults cope with the growing pains of getting older.
Lastly, we arrive ourselves at Lorde’s third studio album, “Solar Power.” This 2021 album release comes after Lorde’s three year absence from social media and shows how Lorde has spent her time during this leisure period in her hometown. In some ways, this album displays a reflection through songs like “Stoned at the Nail Salon” and “The Path,” which show her looking back at her teen stardom with disdain and also inquisition. She both critiques the celebrity culture she experiences while also fearing that she has fallen out of favor of said culture and will face irrelevancy. She details her adventures in her time away through songs such as “Solar Power” and “California” which show the joyful and lighter sides of her time away. We can also see some songs in which Lorde seems to be giving advice of her own through songs such as “Secrets From A Girl (Who’s Seen It All)” and “Fallen Fruit” which boast Lorde’s point of views on different life situations, especially climate change.
“Well, my hot blood’s been burning/for so many summers now./It’s time to cool it down,/
wherever that leads.” – “Stoned at the Nail Salon”
“Stoned At The Nail Salon” is a standout song of this album. As implied by the title, this song is set within the point of view of one who is stoned at a nail salon and is pondering the change we all inevitably face within life. Despite feeling satisfaction with the current life she has, the singer still shows her worry about future change and where she will go from where she’s come.
That last song truly works to bring it all full circle and links all the way back to “Pure Heroine” and “Ribs” where Lorde seems to speak to her younger self from then by saying, “Cause all the music you loved at sixteen you’ll grow out of, and all the times they will change, it’ll all come around.” She shows that, despite growth and maturity, that fear of change never really ever left.
Despite Lorde saying that we would grow out of the music we listened to when we were 16, we’re still here, still listening, and still resonating. Lorde, thank you for growing up with us and giving us a way to understand our growing pains through your music.