(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of Use )
Pure Heroine (2013), 7/10
Melodrama (2017), 6/10

New Zealand's singer Lorde, i.e. the 16-year-old Ella Yelich-O’Connor, became a sensation with the hit Royals from the album Pure Heroine (2013), architected by New Zealand's producer Joel Little. The whole album is a fresco of moody, aching youth, penned with innovative arrangements, especially on the dreamy, Enya-esque Ribs, continuing with the polyrhythmic carillon of Buzzcut Season and the distorted keyboards of 400 Lux. Royals pales in comparison with the electrifying Tennis Court. The catchy martial refrain of Team and the bouncing White Teeth Teens (suspended between Spector's girl-groups of the 1960s and exotic synth-pop of the 1980s) signal a unique way to channel facile pop muzak into majestic statements. The angst of the millennial generation found a powerful voice.

Lorde's Melodrama (2017), produced by Jack Antonoff of the Bleachers, but also with help from pop titans such as Kuk Harrell (Rihanna, Beyonce), Malay (Frank Ocean) and Symbolyc One (Madonna, Beyonce), Spector-ian production synths, vocal harmonies, dissonant piano, guitar riffs, percussive piano-driven Green Light Her vocal skills shine in the Kate Bush-ian Writer in the Dark (drowning in an ocean of strings) and in the sleek piano ballad Liability. The Louvre (with a pathos-filled coda of acoustic guitar that is reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen) distorted instrumental break Hard Feelings One step up from Taylor Swift and two steps up from Ariana Grande, but certainly not revolutionary, and it is debatable who should get credit, since most of the appeal comes from the arrangements. And nothing here matches the magic of Ribs and the urgency of Tennis Court.

(Copyright © 2016 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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