Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Elementarity and Precocity in Lorde

(Standard disclaimer: I Am Not A Musician.)

Lorde's "brand" is her precocity, and I must say that I am a sucker for it. I'm basically in total agreement with Anne Helen Peterson when she observes that Lorde's public image is both highly constructed and highly appealing.
It’s clear that Lorde is precocious. She’s smart, she’s uber-literate. But she’s not just reading the classics, and she’s not checked out of popular culture. ... Many of her teen fans may not know who Laura Mulvey is, but whooo boy does a certain swath of her adult fans.
GUILTY.

I'm rarely able to listen to music I actually want to listen to unless I'm driving. I'm easily distracted by music and work better without it.* So, like the elderly person that I am, I listen to actual CDs straight through in my car. Driving to Philly this week I was listening to Lorde's album Pure Heroine again and thought again about something that struck me the first time I heard it: the album's relentlessly moderate tempos. Quick things happen in these songs, but always within a heavily emphasized temporal grid that, to my ear, cannot possibly be more than 120 bpm and is usually closer to 90. I looked at my watch for ten bars of "Royals" and came up with 86 bpm, although that's admittedly not the fastest song on the album. (On the other hand, it is the album's biggest single.) I am comfortable saying that moderate tempo is a Lorde tic. Not slow, but not too fast.

And I started thinking about what this might have to tell us about her precocity (acknowledging that this precocity, as we know it, is constructed). What are some other Lorde tics? Arpeggios. Parallel thirds. Simple, repetitive melodies, not just simple and repetitive in accordance the conventions of pop music, but in a way that is almost studiously elementary. If we are honest, we will notice that the refrain of "Royals" sounds approximately like what a group of six-year-olds gets up to at their Suzuki violin recital. (Even the F sharp.)


It's not just simplicity of the melody, an inverted D major triad, but also the rhythm: unsyncopated, square, neat subdivisions of time into eighth and sixteenth notes, like an exercise, announcing practice, announcing studenthood. I think Lorde's moderato is part of this elementarity, as are the self-conscious lyrical allusions to Mom and Dad, school, riding the bus, and "my first plane." As the complexity of some moments attests (I think especially of "Buzzcut Season"), Lorde does not have to be simple. But there's a formal insistence on simplicity that speaks not only to the image of authenticity that Annie points out, but also to precocity: you cannot be prococious just by being good; you have to be too young to be that good, too.

*I started playing the album when I started writing this post, then realized I needed to turn it off if I was going to write words. Argh.

2 comments:

Meriah Crawford said...

Wait...intelligent? I watched part of an interview on YouTube, because I was curious, and the word "intelligent" didn't seem to apply. What am I missing? And are you giving her credit for bits of the album she isn't responsible for?

Fascinating post, though! And, FTR, I love this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1Xe15-Ayf4&list=FLiAiAl5_JXQooZrnnFxVDyg&feature=share&index=2

Adult Xnxx Video Mp4 3g Hd Video List said...

@=>Indian arab Hot Desi collge girls 3gp mp4 HD Video Free <=@

»1. Arab Sex Home - free arab sex, real arab home sex video.

»2. Arab Videos - Large Porn Tube. Free Arab porn videos, free

»3. College Videos - Large Porn Tube. Free College porn videos

»4. College Porn Videos: Hot College Girls Sex Movies | Pornhub

»5. Teen Virgins First Time Sex Video + Hardcore Videos online .

»6. First Time videos on NastyVideoTube.com - Free porn videos

»1. Porn Teen Videos - Sex Tube, Young XXX Movies, Teenage

»2. XNXX.COM: Free Porn, Sex, Tube Videos, XXX Pics, Pussy

»3. Indian Video Songs - Android Apps on Google Play

@=>Indian Bangla Hot Desi 3x Sex Xxx 3gp mp4 HD Video Free <=@

»4. Desi Sex Video's ARABIAN HOT SEXY GIRL HAVING SEX

»5. Free Sex Videos,Mobile Sex 3gp mp4 XXX Videos Movies

»6. Hot Pakistani Girl Zainab Ali Leaked Sex Video www.asian

»7. Amateur Girls Sex Videos - Teen & Milf Wife Cum Shots

»8. Free Asian Porn Movies - hot asian sex, sexy asian girls

»9. School Girl Sex With Teacher Bathroom MMS-Indian Girls

»10. Indian Teen schoolgirl homemade sex scandal - XVIDEOS ...

»11. Girl2Sex Full Indian Girls Sex Videos Free Downloads :: Full

»12. Sunny Leone Hot Videos, Sunny Leone Sex Videos ,Sunny

»13. Sexy Sunny Leone - Free Porn Videos - YouPorn xnxx video,porn