Okay, let’s talk about Lorde and the EP she released to the US back in March of this year. How did it take me this long to find out about her? Maybe it’s because she’s from New Zealand, or maybe I don’t listen to enough pop music, but I feel like she came out of nowhere with The Love Club. Either way, this girl has an astonishing voice and more raw potential than I think I’ve ever heard from a young artist like herself. While Ella Yelich-O’Connor, also known as Lorde, is living many 16-year-old girls’ dreams, her EP release The Love Club suggests a sense of maturity that belies her age. Aptly titled Bravado, the first song of her EP is a testament to her confidence, something she is going to need a great deal of with the amount of hype she has been receiving recently. When I first listened to her hit single “Royals” I wasn’t expecting anything special, but I immediately loved it. After listening to the EP on repeat for a week I have yet to get sick of “Royals,” and it’s not even the best track on here. Her lyrics are intelligent and offer critiques of popular culture, and what makes it even better is she writes them herself. She’s certainly not the first child pop star to make the world stare with awe and envy, but just thinking about the sheer amount of musical ideas she has incorporated into The Love Club EP is enough to make my head spin.
There’s really not a bad song on this EP. The layered vocals of Bravado that build harmoniously as the drum kicks increase their pace had me hanging on her words. Lorde’s clever commentary on materialism and declaration of queenship in “Royals” was delivered with the grace and poise of an experienced artist, and the snaps and big bass hits complement her voice perfectly. “Million Dollar Bills” is probably the song I would be most excited to see her perform live, with its skillfully produced vocal percussion and synths that give the track the flow of hip-hop while maintaining it’s pop sensibilities. The title track “The Love Club” was my favorite song of the EP, and it’s beat is ironically cool and jovial for the self-reflective lyrics. Lorde’s voice is warm and clear, a lovely sound that invites you in as she sings with a smile, “Be a part of the love club, everything will glow for you,” and the background vocals done by Lorde herself make it absurdly catchy. “Biting Down” concludes The Love Club EP on a darker note, with an ominous reverb and droning synth that sent chills down my spine as she intoned “Listen to the beats resound.”
While everyone is buzzing about Lorde’s tremendous voice and lyrical creativity, I think it’s also necessary to give some serious credit to her producer, Joel Little. I have no idea who he is and have never heard any of his work for anyone other than Lorde, but he certainly knows what he’s doing. It starts with something that is almost experimental electronic, minimalist pop beats cut with an array of rippling synths, reverbs and some heavier hip-hop influences. As the sparse beats hum and flow, Little builds a vast expanse of sound that gives plenty of room for Lorde’s voice to shine, which of course it does. It’s a winning combination, and The Love Club appears to be the start of a very promising career for this talented young Kiwi. She’s being thrown head first into the fray of the large scale music industry at a very young age, but with her seemingly unshakeable confidence and a sound that is an undeniably unique take on pop music, I have a lot of faith in Lorde.