Over the period of last year or so Lorde has gone from an artist I previously liked to one of my all-time favorite artists. Since today is her birthday I figured out I should do something for it. Even though she has only two full-length albums picking 10 songs was very hard for me, ranking them was even harder. So, here are my top 10 favorite Lorde songs.
10. The Love Club
This is actually title track from Lorde’s debut EP which spawned major hit Royals and honestly, it’s probably her most underrated song. I honestly don’t know why people don’t talk about this song. The whole song is based on 2 Lorde’s vocal samples and drums which are joined by this beautiful synth in later part of the first verse. Vocal samples almost never change and somehow never become old. That is the best sign of how great this song is. I really love how Lorde’s vocal performance and those two vocal samples come together. They don’t sound out of place and annoying at all like they could easily end up being. In The Love Club Lorde is talking about “joining the club” of the adults, how her mother is always around her and how that is “choking” her to join The Club.
This was the first Lorde song that really stopped me in my tracks and made me realize how fantastic of an artist she actually is. I don’t listen to this song too often compared to pretty much every song on this ranking but not because I don’t like it or something(I mean it would not be there then). This song carries too much of emotional baggage that in some moments it is too much for me.
Out of all songs from Melodrama, this is one of most strip back songs. It is pretty much just Lorde and piano which makes it sound even more intimate than it would usually be.
Liability is one of those songs that have multiple meanings to me. The first one being Lorde feeling like a liability to others around her. Her friends, family, everyone. Something I have personally dealt with over the last few years too.
Another meaning of the song that I thought could be is Lorde’s sudden rise of fame and how she was “just a toy” for the music industry and once general public seemed to stop caring for her they just got rid of her.
8. Sober II
This is the second part of a two-part song and it answers the question proposed in Sober in its first line of the song. Sober II is supposed to be tomorrow morning after the house party when you are cleaning up the mess that was left during the party. In this song, Lorde is trying to portray that afterparty scene where everyone is being melodramatic about the previous night and why do they even bother to continue doing the same thing despite the fact that they will probably do it again when they get a chance
Song opens with beautiful strings which disappear right at the start of the first verse but slowly come back several seconds later. The whole song perfectly builds this feeling of tension before the beat drops and 808s come in.
And now onto the first song of the same two-part song. Song opens up with Lorde repeating “Night, midnight, lose my mind”. That same vocal sample will reappear again on a few spots during the song. I really like how in the intro that same vocal sample is accented with nice synths.
The song features really good afrobeat/dancehall style percussion which gives the song really cool rhythmic feel. The best part of the song is definitely the chorus, especially part when trumpets come in but that is not all, I love the part where the harmonies of the song, I love the part where whole instrumentation just disappears and she sings alone.
Lorde said how Sober is about “being a little bit involved with someone and it’s magic when you are out — you’re just king and queen of the weekend, you own the party.” and how she used parties as a coping mechanism while writing the album and because of that I feel like line But what will we do when we’re sober? is her asking herself what will she do once this party is over when she goes back to “reality”, how will she cope with it.
6. A World Alone
So far we didn’t have a single song from Pure Heroine but it’s time to change that. The song is opened by a very simple yet effective guitar riff which stays there for the almost whole duration of the song and somehow never becomes stale and boring. It’s incredible how well guitar riff and just Lorde singing “woo” fit together. One thing that I love about Lorde is that she seems to be well aware of her shortcomings as a singer. She does not have the biggest vocal range out there but she posses probably one of most beautiful voices and knows how to use it very well. Her deeper range sounds fucking amazing.
This song is pretty much Lorde having a toast despite feeling like a total outcast in the society. Not paying attention to people who don’t particularly enjoy your company and standing for yourself. Lorde is talking how we should focus on our own success and not on people who don’t like us. Even though people continue to talk shit about you don’t need to give them attention because that’s exactly what they want from you.
5. White Teeth Teens
This song is pretty much Lorde talking about her relationship with “popular kids” or as she calls them “White teeth teens”, how she tried to join them but never felt like part of the group because to her it seems like you don’t become part of it, you are born in it. She is talking how to be part of their little “cult” you have to impress them. How those same “white teeth teens” have the power to do whatever they want and have zero consequences for their behavior
This song is another example of Lorde knowing herself as a vocalist and what she can do with her voice. Her vocal melodies throughout the song are absolutely gorgeous. I really like the pattern of the marching drum and how well it meshes with Lorde’s vocals. It introduces the chorus in such a great way that it makes it sound even better than it usually would.
Song opens up with just Lorde singing acapella and one part of that acapella being looped and pitch-shifted before the verse the start. Little harmonies are also apparent during that part and they really add a lot to the intro. One thing that I love about Lorde is her multitracking. She is able to create such a great mood with just two vocal tracks, which are pretty much opposite in nature, playing of off each other. That’s what makes a chorus of this song so good.
Team is another song where Lorde is further criticizing the glamour depicted in “Royals” through a fantasy world. She mentions how she and her peers live in “cities you’ll never see on a screen”. This line resonates with me quite a lot. Whole my life I have wished that I grew up in a bigger city rather than being stuck in a small city with almost zero opportunities but further in the song she says how everyone is part of her team as in everyone in that unknown town should unite to make life better for everyone. This ties into another line “I’m kind of over gettin’ told to throw my hands up in the air” with which she is saying how she does not wanna give up on things in her life. But it also could give another jab at modern pop and oversaturation of singers telling their listeners to “throw their hands up in the air” all the time.
3. Perfect Places
So, what are perfect places as the title suggests? Is it the state of being loose and carefree? It seems like Lorde is searching for that perfect place, during the chorus she sounds like she is begging someone to go to those perfect places ,and won’t stop until she finds it but at the end of the song she realizes that those “perfect places” which are brought by carefreeness of partying, taking all kinds of substances and alcohol is not very healthy even though on surface they may appear like an amazing experience. The whole line “What the fuck are perfect places?” is a single most relatable line she has ever written.
As I already mentioned Lorde likes to use parties as a way of coping with stuff that happens in everyday life. She is coping with the fact that her heroes, David Bowie and Prince, are dead. She is describing how sometimes basic hook up can be a good thing.
There is one small thing I love in pop music and music in general and that is when vocal melody perfectly matches melody played by the instrument and then they harmonize. That happens on the lines “But when we’re dancing I’m alright” and “Let’s kiss and then take off our clothes”.
2. Buzzcut Season
I gotta admit, it took me quite a bit of time to fully start loving Pure Heroine. Melodrama clicked with me relatively quick but Pure Heroine took some time. But even when I thought Pure Heroine is good but not anything amazing like I think now I loved this song. This song perfectly captures the whole point of Pure Heroine for me. The whole moodiness of Pure Heroine is at its peak on this song. Song opens up with pretty basic 3 note melody which is underlined by another melody which will slowly become more developed in later part of the song. That underlined melody is one of my favorite parts of this song. It gives lead melody great backing and helps drive the song.
Buzzcut Season is one of those songs that are sung in a relatively happy manner but have very dark lyrics. Title of the song refers to buzzcuts military soldiers are required to have. The whole song is just about teenagers like she was at the time being driven crazy by the war and all the bad things that they see in general on TV or some other news sources but she is also defending her generation from other people saying how they are entitled, lazy and all the bad things millennials have been criticized for over the years by older generations.
1. Writer in the dark
And now, my favorite Lorde song, Writer In The Dark. Honestly, even though this is my favorite Lorde song and one of my favorite songs period I don’t listen to it too often. It carries so much emotion that it completely changes my mood and I can not handle it every time.
But something very important happened to me which basically cemented this song at this place and Lorde as one of my favorite artists. It was night and I was coming home from my bank’s office where I had to go because I lost my wallet in which was my credit card. So, I was very frustrated and angry at myself and on top of that, I was very anxious because of university stuff and while going home rain started and I was listening to Writer In The Dark. When the chorus came I just stood there on the middle of the road crying my ass off for the whole duration of the chorus. This is one most intense moments I have ever had in my life and I will forever remember it.
The whole song has this beautiful stripped back feel which makes everything Lorde sings sound so much more intimate and heavy hitting. You can clearly hear the pain in Lorde’s voice, especially during the chorus. It is just Lorde, piano and occasional strings which are such a great touch to this amazing song. And in this song, Lorde’s vocal multitracking during the second verse brings out a lot to like about the song. But yeah, this song is an absolute masterpiece and best song I have heard in the last 2 years or so and means whole a lot to me.
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