Lorde, the 16-year-old pop music phenom, is still causing controversy with every word she utters. I covered her comments about Taylor Swift, feminism and “photoshop culture” last week, and I was… perturbed to see that some of you were going hard on Lorde. She considers herself a feminist and she is critical of bling, materialism and only singing songs about boys. I realized that she was going to make some enemies, but I also thought, “Hey, let’s praise this talented teenage girl for at least being smart enough to think about and discuss these issues in a unique way in pop music.”
I guess I was wrong though. The same week that Lorde became the youngest artist to ever hit #1 on the Billboard charts is the same week that people are trying to paint her as a “hater” (of Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift) and as a “racist”. Feministing has a post about whether the lyrics of “Royal” are racist – go here to read. The idea is that Lorde is lyrically calling out the accoutrements of wealth specifically in hip-hop culture and because she’s targeting the blinged-out hip-hop life, she’s racist. Yeah. Personally, I think Lorde is challenging materialism in a general way, not specific to hip-hop culture or whatever. She could be singing about Justin Bieber, and he’s the whitest Canadian you’ve ever seen (although Baby Biebs does think he’s black).
As for Lorde and how everyone wants to make her into some Twerkathon controversy-generator, Lorde spoke to MTV News about it:
The 16-year-old New Zealand pop star has been vocal in expressing her distaste for other artists. She released her debut album Pure Heroine last month, with first single Royals reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100, making her the first New Zealand solo artist to have a number one in America.
Although relatively new to music, Lorde hasn’t been shy with talking about her views concerning the music industry.
“I think there’s a funny culture in music that’s only happened over the last 15 years, that if you have an opinion about something in music that isn’t 100-percent good, you’re a ‘hater’. Even if you have perfectly reasonable grounds for that critique. People will say exactly what they think about a movie, but as soon as you say it about a record, you’re like some little zombie in a funny dungeon,” she told MTV News.
Over the summer she accused Justin Bieber of not providing a real depiction of what it’s like to be a young person. Most recently she’s spoken up about Taylor Swift, berating her for being flawless and unattainable. And it doesn’t look like that will be the end of her tongue lashings, as the young pop star was the first to admit that she can be outspoken.
“I have pretty strong morals and opinions being in pop music, and I can’t help but express those, which I think people appreciate,” she continued. “I mean, I don’t think I say anything that isn’t backed up. Most of the time I will stand by things that I’ve said.”
“I just want to continue making music; it’s the reason I’m here in the first place,” she said.
The full quote of what Lorde said about Beiber is this: “I feel like the influences that are there in the industry for people my age, like Justin Bieber or whatever, are just maybe not a very real depiction of what it’s like to be a young person.” A few weeks ago, Lorde also said she didn’t like Selena Gomez’s song “Come and Get It”, saying: “I’m a feminist, and the theme of her song is, ‘When you’re ready come and get it from me.’ I’m sick of women being portrayed this way.”
Far be it from me to hyper-analyze this 16-year-old artist to the point where we’ve declared her an unrepentant Bieber-hater and racist, but I do think Lorde would probably do better if she just stuck to talking about herself for a time instead of calling out bitches right and left, you know? It’s possible to critique the culture of music without calling out specific people.