some unqualified kiwis review lorde’s new album
She’s a New Zealander, we’re New Zealanders, it’ll work, right? Right?
This article was originally published by i-D UK.
Happy Lorde's New Album week! It's been a long time coming, but it's here, and we're happy, and it's on in the i-D office and heads are bobbing. So far, so good. For our totally 200% Very Official Music Review, i-D got it's two resident Kiwis to say a few words about the concept album -- which traces a night at a shitty amazing house party -- and how it really correlates with the shitty amazing house parties of New Zealand.
I'm one of those kiwis -- Georgie, hi, how are ya -- and my qualifications to write this come from playing the first album on repeat for an entire summer because it spoke to me as a suburban-NZ-dwelling angsty teen, and I can literally recite every word to you, just take me to karaoke, please. God I love karaoke. I also wrote a 2000-word close reading on Lorde's Royals music video for university, so there's that.
Our other resident kiwi is Clem, a 'bloody legend' as we say in 'New Zuland', which is how everyone thinks we say New Zealand. She is well versed in both NZ and parties and even both of them at the same time, so she will be inserting some much needed additions to this review. And by review, we mean more of a track-by-track education in shitty New Zealand house parties. The music's great. That's all you need to know about that part.
1. Green Light
Georgie: Given that this is the first track of the album, I am going to assume it's a meditation on the woeful traffic of Auckland (Lorde's hometown), and Aucklanders' consequent perpetual impatience to get to the party right now, this light has literally been red for the past 9.8 minutes, dear lord please make this light turn green. Lorde's second home of LA may also be a contributing factor to this subject matter.
Clem: "Those great whites, they have big teeth." Always swim between the flags Lorde. Every Kiwi knows that.
Georgie: I think this is one of my favourites, because hello, trumpets. It also is very representative of New Zealand parties -- in lieu of the exciting valet parking situations that Lorde says LA parties have (in other words, in lieu of some semblance of class), everyone just gets absolutely properly cooked and just can't really fathom the thought of the next day's hangover. So then they get more cooked.
Glossary: Cooked -- very very drunk. See also: trashed; hammered; rowdy; wasted; spritzed.
Clem: This song reminds me of playing Goon of Fortune. Peg a bag of cask wine -- aka goon bag -- to a clothesline in the backyard, stand around it in a circle, and spin the clothesline. When it stops spinning, whoever is closest to the goon has to scull from it.
3. Homemade Dynamite
Georgie: This would be a good soundtrack for getting spritzed (see above) at Guy Fawkes night. But then, that's not really a NZ thing, is it. I guess you can't fault the woman for being un-relatable: Lorde -- for the many, not for the few. On a much more NZ note, she says the word awesome a lot. Like, a lot a lot. If you know NZers you'll know that we also say awesome a lot a lot. Cranking up the barbie mate? Awesome! Got a couple of brewskies in the chilli bin mate? Awesome! Someone just chundered their Maccas over the porch bro. Awesome!
Except, somehow Lorde manages to make the word awesome sound quite poetic? I guess this is why she is a multi-platinum selling/Glastonbury playing/onion ring rating artist, and the rest of us are, well, not.
Glossary: Barbie - BBQ / Brewskies -- beers / Chilli bin -- cooler / Chundered -- puked / Maccas -- McDonalds / Porch -- deck (and no, we're not saying 'dick').
4. The Louvre
Clem: Even in New Zealand, at the bottom of the world, in the place that most people assume is just overrun with sheep and hobbits, we actually do know about #art and can be #cultured. We can actually do things on an international platform. See: Lorde. See: "they'll hang us in the Louvre." That said, we're still a humble (read: realistic) bunch. See: "down the back, but who cares, still the Louvre."
Georgie: "So I go home, into the arms of the girl that I love, the only love I haven't screwed up / she's so hard to please, but she's a force fire." Read: you've got to be good at being on your own, because this is basically how you spend the majority of your car-less suburban childhood when you're not watching Masterchef Australia reruns with your mum.
"You're gonna watch me disappear into the sun" Read: I dunno -- maybe something to do with the massive hole in the Ozone layer over New Zealand that sizzles you to a blistered crisp if you spend upward of ten minutes in the sun without an inch of sunscreen?
Clem: I actually think this song is about doing doughies.
Glossary: Doughies -- doughnuts, a driving manoeuvre in which a vehicle is driven in tight circles to produce vast amounts of fuel smoke.
6. Hard Feelings/Loveless
Georgie: Much like Brits, Kiwis aren't very good at talking about hard feelings, or actually any feelings at all really. We'd rather push it under the red wine stained rug that you have to throw out after the party because someone puked on it. So props to Lorde for raising them, trying to iron them out, before inevitably (literally) changing tune when the track breaks into something else entirely -- the Loveless part.
In this part, she talks about how "we're the loveless generation." I mean, I definitely didn't fall in love with anyone in NZ so can confirm that this holds true. That said, I can't really speak for our entire generation of Kiwis. I'm sure some young people fall in love in New Zealand. After all, we just had our third season of the Bachelor NZ, and if that's not the pinnacle of love I do not know what is.
7: Sober II (Melodrama)
Clem: "Cleaning up the champagne glasses"? Not sure what NZ house parties this one refers to. The main drinking apparatus I recall are stacks of empty shotgunned Woodie cans, imported red American party cups for beer pong, and the Circle of Death vessel.
Glossary: Woodies -- Woodstock -- premixed rum and coke -- repulsive but gets the job done.
8. Writer in the Dark
Clem: It's quite hard to get the pseudoephedrine she sings of in New Zealand. Are we sure she's talking about a New Zealand party or is this what one calls 'creative license'?
Georgie: "I ride the subway." Yep, definitely some creative license going on her.
Both: "Bet you rue the day you kissed a writer in the dark"? Speak for yourself Lorde.
Georgie: As Lorde clearly pointed out in her last album's Team, "we live in cities, you never see on screen." This song is clearly a continuation of that idea, with Lorde highlighting that because we aren't actually in movies ever, we make do by imagining 'supercuts' of past relationships. You know, those cute little montages they put into movies and the Bachelor NZ featuring couples frolicking on a beach with a rose in their teeth while a Celine Dion track twinkles overtop.
At this point Clem mostly lost interest. To be honest, she pretty much just listens to metal.
10. Liability (Reprise)
Georgie: This is the part of the party where everyone's either making out in the corner with their Lonely Hearts* dress round their waist, or sidestepping outta there without saying bye lest you unravel on them after the rollercoaster that was the past three hours. Or was it four? So you're sort of swaying there next to the AUX cord, making that awful sucky noise with your straw, trying to revive the party and your hardened soul by chucking on that song that totally went OFF before guys!!! Come on!!! Get up and dance guuyyyyysss!!!
Except this one is actually a good song.
*v popular NZ brand, v apt name.
11. Perfect Places
Georgie: It's the end of the night, and you're absolutely cooked mate, so you decide to "go to perfect places," or at least anywhere that still has a low hum of shitty trap tunes and a few sozzled people milling about, because "we can't stand to be alone." But then you're all like "what the fuck are perfect places?" because let's be honest, it's New Zealand and everything closes at about 3am and there's literally nowhere else to go.
Happy hangover folks.
Text Georgie Wright and Clementine de Pressigny