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Pure Heroine

Lorde

Motown/Universal 2013

Review by David Bowling

 

Thanks to web sites like You Tube, we live in an era where a number of teenagers have become music superstars, selling millions of albums and songs, while climbing to the upper reaches of the charts. What will happen to those teenagers in the future remains to be seen. That brings us to Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor who goes by the stage name Lorde.

While most people her age are worrying about exams or playing sports, Lorde has carved out a successful career for herself in the United States. Her album Pure Heroine is number three on the Cashbox Pop Chart and number one on the Rock Chart. Her single “Royals” currently tops both the Pop and Rock Charts.

It would be easy to dismiss her success but Pure Heroine is one of the better albums released by a pre-20 year old. It is not just her voice but the songs have a sincerity and gritty nature that give them a maturity beyond her years. Yes, it is a little off-setting having a teenager singing about aging and responsibility and may cause a disconnect but their saving grace is her passion, plus the fact the lyrics are intelligent.

It is not a perfect album and many of the songs are not as radio-friendly as her big hit but what is good is some of the very best of the year. “Royals” with its bass lines and primitive beat, which set the foundation for the vocals, is just about the perfect rock/pop song. “Team” has a wonderful use of vocal harmonies. Other outstanding tracks are “White Teeth Teens,” “Tennis Court,” and “A World Alone.”

Pure Heroine is an album that requires a number of listens for the songs to settle in. Still, no matter what her age, it is an album of well-crafted themes and music, which belie the age of its author. I don’t know what the future holds for Lorde, but this album is one of the better releases of 2013.

Rating: ****

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