Everyone experiences adolescence, that unexplainable time in life where the feelings of loneliness and exploration co-exist simultaneously. It’s a period bound by the lack of a truly fully-formed sense of self, yet a need to present individuality all whilst being pushed to make decisions about your future goals and aspirations.
The term adolescent conjures up images of messy bedrooms and dark nights, but maybe the sounds of being a teenager feel more vivid. In order to help them endure the confusing period, many turn to music as a form of solace hoping to hear their concerns mimicked in the form of songs. Artists have come and gone, attempting to soundtrack those pivotal teenage years. Whilst some have been successful, none have been praised as much as the New Zealand singer Lorde.
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Lorde’s music has narrated millions of young people’s lives, providing commentary on the monumental first loves, vast range of emotions and mundane life. She has an innate ability to write relatable music, straying away from the exasperated movie depictions of the life of an adolescent.
Millions of fans across the world brag about Lorde’s music, forming unbreakable bonds with her songs. Many recall their own lives alongside her music and talk about how her lyrics have guided them through their turbulent times. Lorde stan accounts on social media are genuine in their feelings, speaking passionately about the role that Lorde has played in their lives.
Lorde first began her career in 2013, she first released the EP 'The Love Club' and then went onto release her critically acclaimed debut album ‘Pure Heroine’.
‘Pure Heroine’ changed the trajectory of pop music bringing in sub-genres of electronic, indie and dream-pop. But more importantly it described the life of a suburban teenager coming to terms with growing older and entering a world of fame.
‘Pure Heroine’ hones an air of childhood innocence, it sits on the threshold of entering young adulthood. Dreams and fantasies of the life to come, all shown in a clouded hue. It speaks of suburban life, daydreams of the big city and the effects of entering the public eye at the age of 16.
The album featured the eminent single ‘Royals’, a commentary on the popular music scene’s description of an out of reach life from the point of view of a young girl living in a small town. The release of ‘Royals’ boasted Lorde’s relatability, introducing her speciality in retelling the lives of teenagers. Instagram user @lordefanclubrus said that they were “amazed by ‘Royals’ when it came out. An adolescent came into the industry like a tornado and showed all those ‘stars’ how to write a song and what the life of their listener’s really looked like.”
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Other tracks from ‘Pure Heroine’ are engraved in fan’s hearts. @lordehan, a fan from Twitter, said that they “definitely related to ‘Ribs’; talking about fears of getting older and wanting to enjoy adolescence forever, it hit home for me.” ‘Ribs’ explores the speed of adolescence, the whirlwind of emotions that abruptly comes to an end. Lines such as “And I’ve never felt more alone / It feels so scary, getting old” need no interpretation, Lorde speaks in a straightforward manner, clearly voicing a common fear not often openly discussed.
Lorde was 16 years old when ‘Pure Heroine’ came out, and many fans found that it helped them navigate their way through high school. @thesoberclub said that “when I was in. high school, 'Pure Heroine' was the soundtrack of my life, it really helped me get through bad experiences.” Similarly, Ricardo from Mexico said, “I fell in love with ‘Pure Heroine’, this was my whole high school soundtrack, I was in the midst of figuring out my sexuality and I just felt like a complete outcast, this was simply put, my comfort album.”
On 'Pure Heroine' Lorde was writing as she was experiencing, making her music appear raw and vivid. Her age did not dimmish her ability but enhanced her connection to the listeners. Twitter stan @TheLordeCult said that ‘Pure Heroine’ “was emblematic of a period of adolescent awakening that I was undergoing simultaneously with her. The combination of costal, industrial, and suburban imagery presented in that album felt much like my upbringing.”
Lorde’s second album ‘Melodrama’ was released in 2017 and illustrated Lorde’s journey into young adulthood. Parties, substance usage and heartbreak made up the themes of the album, portraying the now more mature Lorde. Much like ‘Pure Heroine’, ‘Melodrama’ represents reality of growing up and coming to terms with the end of childhood.
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As Lorde aged with the albums, so did the fans. Now the singer’s listeners had left school and were venturing into adulthood, their life’s soundtrack now updated with the songs from ‘Melodrama’. Tracks like ‘Green Light’ discussed an unfaithful lover with the notions of partying lingering. ‘Perfect Places’ colourfully displayed the nights of youth with lyrics like “All of the things we’re taking / ‘Cause we are young and we’re ashamed / Send us to perfect places.” Lorde’s lyrics, although romanticised, were describing a more accessible portrayal of life that fans once again were heavily engaging with.
Twitter fan @Lovelessrach expressed her connection to the album, “When ‘Melodrama’ came out, I was 17 years old, so it felt really special to grow up with her and her music in that way and be able to relate to ‘Melodrama’ with all the heartbreak and self-doubt that’s associated with that album.” The theme of heartbreak is prevalent on Melodrama and once again Lorde has been lauded for her real portrayal of romance from a real-life perspective.
@lordefanclubrus said: “I listened to ‘Melodrama’ at 3am and I realised everything that she [Lorde] was trying to tell me all those years. This is a reason people adore this album even more than ‘Pure Heroine’. It’s different every time, I mean, the way we sense it changes as the heartbroken state changes as well.” Many fans consider Lorde to be a friend, a result of her song writing ability. The connection between fan and artist appears legitimate and explains the fan’s deep bond towards Lorde’s music.
Lorde has mastered the art of relating to youth. Her music has captured the hearts of many and provided a detailed soundtrack of the fundamental transition from an adolescent into a young adult. Both ‘Pure Heroine’ and ‘Melodrama’ have deeply infiltrated listener’s lives. @thesoberclub said that Lorde “writes with such honesty. At teen/early adult years, we are having our first heartbreak, leaving high school to enter a new stage in our lives, and Lorde’s songs really resonate to what we are feeling. Her albums really are like friends you can come to when you’re feeling lost.”
Some may say that the reason for Lorde’s ability to write songs that young people are heavily influenced by is because of her age, but that belittles Lorde’s talent. Many artists have tried to be part of an individual’s life soundtrack who have been a similar age, but there are always factors that cause a singer to distance themselves from their audience. In Lorde’s case it feels the opposite, she embraces herself and her humbleness, allowing her to not be swept away with the fame that accompanies several Grammy awards. She has cemented herself in fan’s lives and created a presence that they cannot get rid of.
As @Lovelessrach says: “I’m thankful I get to carry these songs with me for the rest of my life.”
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Lorde’s new album ‘Solar Power’ will be released on August 20th.
Words: Abbie Aitken
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