Album review: ‘Pure Heroine’
The 16-year-old singer stuns with her debut album
It’s easy to get caught up in what “makes music good.”
But sometimes, when an album is especially great, the entire idea of deconstructing it seems contrived: why waste my time trying to execute some pseudo-intellectual analysis that will just pander more towards the extremism of modern music critiquing than my honest-to-goodness emotional response?
Well, the absolute truth is this: Pure Heroine is breathtaking.
From the ethereal vocal delivery of Ella Yelich-O’Connor (also known by her moniker, Lorde) to the bass-heavy backbeat to the dizzying array of icy synth lines, each component of the album is as close to flawless as they come.
The album opens with “Tennis Court,” a lyrical highpoint that addresses the rampant gossip Lorde, and most students, have experienced on a consistent basis. Pure Heroine proceeds to run through song after song of intense musical depth and startlingly honest, original and beautiful poetry.
The album ends on “A World Alone,” which ties up the first line of “Tennis Court” (“Don’t you think it’s boring how people talk”) with the very final line of the album (“Let ‘em talk”), allowing for a completely cohesive effort from start to finish.
As for standout tracks, I can always name the best songs (“400 Lux,” “Ribs” or “A World Alone”), but that would be a disservice to the album. There isn’t really any filler, and each song is just as good, if not better, than the last.
The album is an insanely catchy, post-punk-infused dance record that rivals every other record that has come out within the last year, and possibly in the last 10. It really is that good.
Most critics and interviewers talk about the daftly obvious fact that she is only 16, and act as if they are surprised that such a young girl, and her producer, could craft an album of such artistic breadth.
But that isn’t what astounds me, because, quite frankly, I’ve always believed that music should be handled by adolescents: a fresh perspective separated from egos, separated from the industry and separated from the bullshit idea that music has to be some sort of lo-fi, retro rip-off to be reputable or “real.”
Kids just tend to be better at reaching for some intangible thing.
Some call it beauty, but I just prefer to believe it’s a sense of realism. This naïve idea that someone can create something emotionally visceral without any preconceived notions of what they should create, and instead about what they want to create.
Pure Heroine demonstrates just that: a whip-smart lyricist and gifted melodist paired with one of the most unexpectedly self-aware producers in recent memory.
Sometimes, music doesn’t even have to be analyzed. Because once the analysis is over and the smoke settles, all that is left is how you feel: how an artist, a song or an album emotionally impacted you.
And Pure Heroine will stun you.
MOVE gives Pure Heroine 5 out of 5 stars.