For a 16-year-old, New Zealander Ella Yelich-O’Connor, aka Lorde, is abnormally preoccupied by the dread of getting older. She’s more cynical than her classmates, too, dispelling the myth that mid-teens are the most fearless of God’s creatures over the 10 ready-to-love RnB pop tracks on this debut album. Also older than her years: her vocal resemblance to Lana Del Wray (on ‘Team’ and ‘Glory And Gore’) and Santigold (‘White Teeth Teens’), and that her songs, or at least ‘Royals’ (a hipper take on Jessie J’s ‘Price Tag’ mantra), are covered on X Factor, instead of her being in line to hack them to death and cry on TV.

More in keeping with her age: citing SBTRKT and Burial as influences, writing lines like, “I remember when your head caught flame” for the purpose of a rhyme and basing her best song around going down to the tennis court and talking it out, “like yeah.” It’s then that Lorde combines the frivolity of youth and the new science of FM pop 2.0 to unchallengeable affect.


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