13 songs that deeply inspire lorde

Before she was a phenomenon, she was a fangirl. We compile the artist’s eclectic and extensive list of favorite songs.

by Alyssa Pereira
|
Apr 21 2017, 10:00pm

There's a good chance that if you asked Lorde to name her favorite record, she'd have a bit of trouble settling on just one. The New Zealand-turned-global pop star has found favorites in seemingly every genre of music she's come across, and she's always keen on sharing them with her (literally) millions of Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram followers. Lorde is one of our first social-media-native pop stars; she has always used her platforms as a stream-of-consciousness journal to interact with her fans, sharing her discoveries in fashion, photography, and of course, music.

It wasn't always that way. As she says in an interview with Vevo, her parents listened to the same 10-15 records when she was young, so she had never really listened to iconic acts like Prince and Michael Jackson until she had already embarked on her musical career.


But once she grew up and began working with a number of the best musical talents in the business, she was exposed to some incredible sounds. Here are some of Lorde's favorite songs by the artists that inspire her.

Robyn's "Dancing on my Own"

Lorde cites Robyn's "Dancing on my Own" as the "perfect" song, calling her relationship with it "the most important friendship I'll ever have." She loves it because of how dynamic it is, and believes it to be what solidified the important presence of music in her life. "It's happy and sad, fiery and independent but vulnerable and small, joyous even when a heart is breaking. Every line is perfect," Lorde says

"We put it on right there in the studio, and I was up out of my seat dancing with my eyes screwed shut, and my hands up around my ears," she adds. "[My friends and I] looked into each other's eyes and sang the words, and I could feel something hot and teary in the back of my throat just from FEELING so much at once."

Beach Boys's "God Only Knows"

"Dancing On My Own" might be Lorde's favorite pop song, but this sweet little lovey 1966 composition by the Beach Boys is in the singer's "top five," as she noted in a Tumblr post. Calling it "so complex and kind of bittersweet and happy," she says it's "a good choice" as anyone's most beloved song.

Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" 

Lorde's certainly one for the classics -- she's noted that she adores Nina Simone and many rockers of the '60s and '70s -- but she also loves Katy's Perry's 2010 hit "Teenage Dream." In a New York Times article, she elevates it to the point where "there's something holy about it."

"There's this sadness about it, where you feel young listening to it, but you feel impermanence at the same time," Lorde recently told Jonah Weiner in her epic New York Times Magazine profile. "When I put that song on, I'm as moved as I am by anything by David Bowie, by Fleetwood Mac, by Neil Young. It lets you feel something you didn't know you needed to feel."

Alicia Keys's "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart"

Lorde is notoriously mum about her romantic life, and has declined to say much about her breakup with longtime photographer boyfriend James Lowe, outside of telling Zane Lowe on Beats One that her new "Green Light" is a bit autobiographical. However, in the New York Times profile, she reveals that Alicia Keys' "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart" brings out some of her deep emotions, saying, "You suddenly find yourself crying when 'Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart' comes on."

Travis Scott's "Antidote"

One track that was so noteworthy it inspired a flurry of tweets in praise of the song's simplicity is hip-hop artist Travis Scott's 2015 hit "Antidote." Breaking down the song's genius over a handful of posts, Lorde relays that she's "passionate" about the artist's work, and calls it "super interesting to me."

"It's essentially one line of melody, one two second phrase, yet somehow it feels good for four minutes," she wrote. "The higher line of melody happens (and it's really just the original line a bit higher) and by then we're so unwittingly thirsty for a lift. That its BLISS! Travi$ gives us crumbs in this militaristic melodic eatery and we consume them like a feast!"

David Bowie's "Fashion"

Like many, Lorde was distraught when she heard the news of David Bowie's passing. As she wrote in a Facebook post at the time , meeting him was deeply important to her and took her to a turning point in her career.

Although Lorde says that meeting her heroes often "sucks" because "the pressure is too huge," meeting Bowie was quite different. She was at a Vogue benefit when she was still 17, and she sang three songs to a glamorous crowd. Vogue editor Anna Wintour approached her after, telling her the music icon wanted to meet her. As she says, it was life-changing.

"I'll never forget the caressing of our hands as we spoke, or the light in his eyes. That night something changed in me -- I felt a calmness grow, a sureness," she recalled. "I think in those brief moments, he heralded me into my next new life, an old rock and roll alien angel in a perfect grey suit. I realized everything I'd ever done, or would do from then on, would be done like maybe he was watching."

She became more confident, saying she was proud of her quirkiness — which she calls her "spiky strangeness" — and that she would never stop learning "brand new dances." 

Banks's "Fuck With Myself"

Like all good friends, Lorde is supportive of her besties. She's even given one such artist, Los Angeles-based pop noir act Banks, several big endorsements. Last July, Lorde exclaimed "Holy shit, this is cool," and encouraged her Twitter followers to listen to the track a few times. Later on, she wrote that every single Banks put forth -- most notably "Fuck with Myself" -- was "sublime," and that her most recent album The Altar is a "stunning stunning record."

Yeasayer's "Ambling Alp"

There aren't too many contemporary acts that Lorde cites as being "life-changing" and her favorite band, but one that she's fawned over since age 13 is Brooklyn's Yeasayer. She has repeatedly noted in different outlets and on Twitter that she loves the group, and in one particularly funny interaction, after tweeting that she was singing an acoustic song by the band between phone interviews because it was "off the chain," Yeasayer tweeted back to ask her what song she was enjoying.

"I am equal parts embarrassed and delighted," she responded. "It was 'Ambling Alp' (you guys are one of my favourite bands.") 

Kehlani's "Keep On"

Kehlani has an avid fan here, mostly due to the "timeless" appeal of her work. The Oakland singer and songwriter, who released her debut album SweetSexySavage in January, drew acclaim from Lorde, who was first wowed by her appearance at Tyler the Creator's Camp Flog Gnaw Festival. "Holy shit, what a presence," she wrote. "I'm head over heels."

A day after the album came out, Lorde revived her praise, saying it's her favorite debut in two years. "You have to listen to Kehlani's album, it's very special," she added. "Such nuanced, timeless, joyful music."

Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide"

If there's any band that can floor Lorde with a live performance, it's Fleetwood Mac. She previously revealed to Vevo that their iconic "Rumours" is a "perfect record" but it wasn't until November 2015 that she was able to say that the classic rock band was the "best concert of [her] life."

Over a long Instagram post, she told her followers that "never before has a band given so much to me."

"Every song had a place in my heart, in the fabric of my childhood and my family life," she wrote. "It made me believe what Lindsey [Buckingham] said about the making of Rumours, and where they are now -- that it was destiny."

Lorde also praised Stevie Nicks: "Stevie's voice was sharp and clear and full. How purely magical it was to see her in front of me, my crescent moon mother, in the flesh, all in black, her hair playing tricks with the light."

Drake's "Hotline Bling"

Lorde is a fan of multiple tracks by Drake, but she has a special appreciation for his megahit "Hotline Bling."

Like with "Antidote," Lorde admires its unfettered delivery, saying it's a "creative clever way of saying something really simple." Because of Drake's pop songwriting talents, she considers his work "a great resource," and evokes her synesthetic sense in noting that his hooks "paint songs in beautiful primary colours, like Rothkos."

"Using such dynamic hook nouns isolates a song so it's instantly more memorable than most others," she adds, "even if they're conceptually similar."

Alduous Harding's "Imagining My Man"

Lorde offers support for musical artists across the world, but she's also quick to shout out a musician from her own home of New Zealand. "This song blows my head off," she wrote on Twitter of "Imagining My Man," a melancholy piano-forward track by folk singer Alduous Harding. "[It's a] soft flurry of gut punches. I think Aldous is the most interesting musician around."

The 1975's "Somebody Else"

Like a great chunk of the rest of the pop music-loving world, Lorde took a shine to The 1975's 2016 hit "Somebody Else." In fact, as she admitted on Twitter, the soft-spoken electronic ballad about lost love was her most listened-to song of the year on Spotify.

"I'll admit I haven't listened to very much of this band's music," she wrote, "but holy shit, this is a perfect classic forever song."

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Text Alyssa Pereira