With the rise of reality television and celebrity culture in the 21st century, the emphasis on wealth and glamour in pop culture was long overdue for a sendup. Such a rebuke wouldn’t have made sense coming from a pop star embedded within that culture, but, still, no one was expecting it to come from a New Zealand teenager. Then again, Lorde wasn’t just any teenager.
Born Ella Yelich-O’Connor in 1996, Lorde was only 13 years old when her talent caught the eye of record executives, earning her a development deal with Universal in 2010. In 2012, she set loose The Love Club EP as a SoundCloud release. The EP included a song called “Royals,” the aforementioned rejection of gold teeth, Grey Goose and trippin’ in the bathroom. The song quickly built buzz, and Universal released it as an official single in the summer of 2013. Lorde owned the summer, as “Royals” rose to No. 1 in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Italy. Her debut album Pure Heroine came next in September, notching another Top 10 single in the States with “Team.” The album sold over 5 million copies worldwide.
After an extended hiatus, Lorde finally returned to drop new music in Spring 2017. On March 2 she released “Green Light,” an emotion-fueled tune that slowly builds into a danceable, shout-along chorus. She went on to release “Liability” and “Perfect Places,” all in anticipation of the release of sophomore album Melodrama on June 16.