What Lorde taught me about being a teenager
I’m not going to lie. At first, when I heard “Royals” blasting on the radio in the car next to mine, I recalled the hype surrounding the song, and I had to roll up my windows I thought it was that annoying. But then, I watched the music video in the quiet of my home, and carefully gave it a chance. I saw Lorde with her magnificent hair, cat eyes, and light blue shirt, mesmerizing me with her words. I realized there was a lot more to her than I initially thought.
I knew that Lorde had something to say, and it was completely fresh and new—just what the music industry seriously needed. (See her epic performance at the American Music Awards this past weekend for more proof.)
So, when I found out she was coming to my city, I jotted down the date when I could start buying tickets and when the day came, I waited in the queue online for about an hour and a half. I didn’t care that I had to wait that long because Lorde, my now celebrity BFF, was so worth the time and $100.
She came on the stage lined with two distinct streetlights on ether side, and she, calmly grabbing the microphone, sang her first words to the restless crowd, “there’s a humming in the restless summer air.” That’s “Glory and Gore,” my favorite song.
With quick wit and deep soulfulness, her lyrics are not at all normal in the pop/rock music scene. A meditated thought process runs through her mind when she sits down to write her songs―I can feel it in my deep heart’s core that this girl is on a completely different level than most other musical artists. Mentally, she is far beyond her biological years, an old soul walking around in a 18-year-old’s body. She’s not afraid to stick herself out there, say what she truly means, or dress in the way she feels most comfortable.
Her music is the perfect ballad for the teenage spirit, and most girls born in 1996 (ahem, like myself) seem to find some connection to this gorgeous singer with her monochromatic outfits, her deeply introspective lyrics and her freaking awesome hair. (As a fellow curly-haired girl, I appreciate how she lets her hair be all wild and free.) Lorde consistently proves herself, changing only when she wants to, writing and performing songs only that she agrees with. She plays on the teenage experience and what it means to just grow up because it does feel “so scary getting old.”
I’m 18, and I already feel burned out which is why that particular lyric spoke to me: I realized that I wasn’t the only teenager who felt like my life was closing in on me. My relatives have told me since I was 13 that these we’re going to be the best years of my life, and I’m getting close to the end of those “best years.” What does that mean? What will become of me? These are a few of the questions that seemed to be on Lorde’s mind when she wrote “Ribs” and her Pure Heroine album.
I’m technically an adult now, and that’s a scary thought. Where did my teenage self go? I’m a sophomore in college studying abroad next semester, and my brother is 6,000 miles away. Where did those bygone days of “riding around on our bikes” go? Lorde doesn’t have answers to these questions, but she speaks volumes as to why teenagers ask them, why these existential musings permeate our minds.
Each lyric is purposeful and all the lyrics work in unison to create a great piece of music brimming with meaning. As with all great poetry, her lyrics takes shape within the mind of the listener, and for me, that is the most important part of music―it has to be deep enough to extract more than just one meaning.
Lorde may not be everyone’s cup-of-tea, but she changed how I saw teenage self, allowed me to stop fighting my natural curls, and made it OK for me to think existentially. She is a creatively intellectual being whose songs ring with truth about what it means to be a teenager in the 21st century.Annalisa Palmer is a vegan and student at the Honors College of UNLV majoring in English. You can find her writings on One Green Planet, but mostly she just writes on her website, Twitter, or Facebook. She watches way too many BBC shows, and is in love with everything New Zealand.