I Love Lorde and I Don’t Care That Everyone Else Does Too.

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Over the summer, Max became obsessed with all of the different music streaming services available and spent hours endlessly comparing and analyzing the relative benefits of each. A side effect of comparing the services was actually using them to listen to music, and because we spend a lot of time in the car driving back and forth to Kingston, we’d end up listening to his new discoveries together until I’d make him turn them off. I’m grouchy when it comes to all sorts of things, but music especially, and once I’ve decided I’m not into something, I’m really not into it.

Things were different when Max “found” Lorde last summer, though. I guess she was already doing pretty well on Spotify but had yet to get any radio play, and from the second he started playing The Love Club EP, I was pretty much in love with this girl.

I know it’s kind of completely ridiculous now to sit down and write anything about a now mega-famous, super successful, and broadly loved teenaged pop star, but Lorde is so…different. So much writing—whether it be essays or song lyrics—tries so hard to be “universal” that it ends up just becoming incredibly generic, and I feel like that’s what so much pop music is: generic, vague, disposable, and boring. Lorde doesn’t necessarily sing about what everyone else is singing about, though—her writing is so beautifully specific and personal. She’s not writing about being a 16 year-old girl; she’s writing about how it feels to be living her life as herself at a particular moment in time, and she renders it beautifully. That might seem like the same thing but it really isn’t—whether or not the listener relates to or understands exactly what she’s saying is completely secondary to telling her story in the way that she wants to tell it.

Back in September, my birthday was spent alone in Kingston. Max had to stay in Brooklyn for some reason, the dogs were curled up by themselves somewhere, and I was spending the evening trying to manage all of the construction debris and garbage and clutter that had accumulated in the front parlor room after the destruction of the vestibule wall. By some amazing coincidence, Lorde’s first full-length album Pure Heroine had also come out that day, and I remember listening to it on repeat while I was trying to wrestle sections of vestibule into contractor bags, frequently going back over to my computer to replay certain songs and turn the volume up even higher. I know birthdays are supposed to be exciting, but I always tend to just get really angsty and sad, and matters aren’t exactly helped by being alone and surrounded by trash with the pressure of trying to procure a new roof and a new boiler before winter sets in weighing on you. Something about listening to that album over and over again helped, though, and made me feel OK. Almost 7 months later, it still sounds fresh and new and exciting to put on. It’s kind of a perfect album.

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Max and I went to see Lorde at the first of her three shows at the Roseland Ballroom on Monday night. I loved her performance at the Grammy’s but I don’t think she sounded all that amazing—I’m sure she was nervous—and I was kind of expecting her to be good. Not spectacular, not bad.

WELL. This show? Incredible. We had general admission tickets and we were pretty much right in the middle of the crowd. Normally, this makes me sort of frustrated and anxious—I don’t like being trapped and surrounded by tons of people, and I always feel really short and like I can’t see anything, and the people around me are always pissing me off in one way or another. But there was just a completely different vibe at Lorde’s show. We basically got to know everyone around us between the opener and when Lorde’s set started, and it was fun to feel like we were experiencing the show with all of these people instead of just trying to block them out. We were packed in tight but nobody was pushing or shoving or making enemies. We were on each other’s team.

Digression: the one thing that totally detracted from the show was the broad use and overuse of cellphones to take pictures or record video. I get that people want to capture the moment and I don’t really see anything wrong with taking a few pictures, but when people hold their phones a foot above their heads and record video of entire songs, it’s is just so rude and obnoxious. There’s a whole group of people behind that person whose  view is completely blocked by the dumb phone, just so that they can capture a crappy low-quality piece of footage that they’ll never watch again. It makes me crazy, and I really hope my generation figures out that this is not OK behavior, or conducive to enjoying live performance. Don’t do it, people. 

Digressing from my digression: how does anyone take halfway decent concert photos with an iPhone? I barely even try to take pictures at concerts anymore because my photos are always, without exception, awful—even when I’m standing close to the stage. It’s like my special power.

Aside from the phones, though, the crowd was great. And Lorde was great. She sounded amazing vocally, and the performance was just completely enchanting. There wasn’t anything technically very flashy or interesting about the production (the lighting and her costumes were very well done, though), but that understatement suits her. When she wasn’t singing, she was personal, humble, incredibly charismatic, and just so cool. I do wish she had played a couple more songs off of the EP and done an encore and played for 7 more hours and come to give me a hug and let me take her out for coffee and let me join the tour and allowed me to play with her hair and tell her my secrets and become her BFF, but other than that it was a perfect concert. She’s going to be around for a long, long time, and I’m so glad we got to see her so early in her career. She’s incredible.

New Yorkers—if you have any way to get yourself to the third and final night of the show at Roseland Ballroom tonight, DO IT. You can usually scalp tickets around the venue or look on Craigslist. And here’s the list of her upcoming US tour dates! And if you don’t know what I’m talking about at all and need to be initiated, go do yourself a favor and download Pure Heroine.


37 Comments

  1. Hey, did you change the typeface and font size on your blog? It’s all teeny-tiny sans serif, and really really hard to read! Change it back. Please!

    • Yes, we changed it a couple of days ago! I actually always thought that the old monospaced font was kind of difficult to read and received some comments saying that it was, too, so that’s why. This one might not be ideal, either…I’ll see what I can do!

  2. I’m assuming you were in that gigantic line around the block… I walked past and it took me a few minutes to process why there was such a huge mass of people. God. You and I are practically best friends now.

    • We didn’t wait! We didn’t get there until about 7:45 and I think doors opened at 7, so there wasn’t a line by the time we got there! But I COULD HAVE BEEN, haha.

  3. I live a block away. Maybe just maybe…..

  4. I feel this exact same way about Lorde. “Pure Heroine” has been on repeat for me since October, and I’ve yet to get sick of it. Also glad to not be alone in the “birthdays make me angsty and sad” club. I get so depressed around mine every single year.

  5. I’m totally jealous that you got to see her. Her voice. *sigh* <3

  6. Ok, full disclosure. We are actually part owners in a ticket company called First Hand Tickets. Look them up and please call them and see what they can do for you for tonight. Daniel should be whipped (says his father) for sending people to Craigslist instead of our partially owned, better service, honest, ticket brokers. UGH!

    • This! I work in in venue management and when patrons buy tickets on Craigslist or from scalpers it can be a HUGE problem for the venue’s ticket office. Especially if the tickets end up being fake, which happens more often than you’d expect. Plus you’re not always getting a better deal; I can’t tell you how many times people call and ask about $200 tickets they see online when the actual ticket price is $50 (for example). Don’t buy tickets from non-legit sources, y’all.

    • <3 <3 <3 definitely in the top 5 mom comments on this blog.
      daniel, you're the best

  7. There’s no real trick to getting good concert photos on a phone. You can’t use a flash, you don’t have a lot of light to work with, and the camera compensates by using a high ISO (grainier photos) and slow shutter speed (blurrier photos). Here’s a couple things to think about though.

    1. Light is the absolute biggest issue, so try to snap the most brightly-lit moments.

    2. Since the camera is using a slow shutter, you’re going to have to contend with motion blur. Try to catch the band at a time when they’re not bouncing around like lunatics. Also, the simple act of pressing the button on your phone can be enough to introduce blur, so hold it really steady with both hands, or use the volume up button to shoot instead of the on-screen button if you can control that more naturally.

    3. If you’re using a third-party camera app like VSCO, you might be able to set the exposure and focus points independently. Putting the exposure point on a well-lit area of the image should make the camera choose a faster shutter, alleviating some of the blurring issue. (You’ll probably end up with an overall darker image, but you might be able to fix that when you edit it.)

    4. With a high ISO, you’ll get a lot more grain and wonkier colors than you would in daylight. Sometimes you can salvage that situation with some of the manual tools in VSCO. If appropriate, you could also just turn the photo into a black and white. The grain will look more purposeful and you won’t have to worry about weird colors.

    Also, this is just a general rule of phone cameras, but don’t use the zoom function. Your phone’s camera doesn’t actually have a physical zoom. It’s just scaling things digitally, which you’ll end up doing later anyway if you edit the photo in VSCO or Instagram or whatever, so don’t bother with the zoom.

  8. AMEN about the cell phones. Drives me bonkers.

  9. I had no clue about (had never heard of) Lorde. Thanks for the introduction.

  10. I’m totally with you on the cell phones at shows bit. in fact, have you ever been to a Cake show (you know, ‘short skirt and a loonnnnggggg jacket’)? The lead singer will actually kick you out for holding up a cell phone…it’s intense how he calls people out, but I appreciate it. more artists should be like that! and hell yes on buzzcut season – by far my favorite song on the album. xo

  11. I recently attended a naturalization ceremony in Los Angeles, along with about 3,000 other people. Since I wasn’t in the very front row, literally all I could see throughout the entire ceremony were all the jerks in front of me, standing up, holding their phones above their heads, recording the entire thing. So. Unbelievably. Rude. It makes me feel a little better knowing that this behavior bothers other people too, and I’m not just old and out of it.

  12. Oh gads, the screen people! One of these days, human beings will just have big touch screens instead of heads. You read it here first.

    Thanks for the music recommendation — for the past several months my boyfriend has been peering at the iTunes store and saying, “Who’s that singer I like? The girl? You know? With the song that’s like [hums incomprehensibly]?” Turns out it’s Lorde, which I want to spell “Lourde” but I suppose the marquee doesn’t lie — so I guess we’re fans, too!

  13. We saw Lorde when she was in Portland in December. I was surprised how many youngsters were at the show! We actually missed the second half of the show when a 12ish year old girl passed out right in front of us and my husband had to carry her out of the crowd. She ended up being just fine. :) I totally agree about the cell phones, though that might be related to all the teenagers – we also saw several other shows in Portland that week that attract slightly (just 20s and up, not elderly!) older crowds and there were WAY less phones in use!

  14. I know I shouldn’t care that everyone else does too, but as one of the people who liked Lorde in July I kind of wish it was still “cool” and not just “top 40” — of course everyone in New Zealand who liked her ages ago probably has those same complaints about those of us who started catching on this summer.

  15. Check out Puddles Pity Party on youtube. Puddles is a 7ft clown with an incredible singing voice. He covers Lordes “Royals” and “Team”. She has said his cover of “Royals” is her favorite. I don’t know if she commented on his cover of Team, but it’s equally good. Just search for “Puddles Lorde cover” on youtube, you’ll be glad you did. Anyway, I wanted to say you are and inspiration to me in getting my home fixed up. I admire your energy and taste and have stolen a few ideas from you, like painting the doors and bathroom black.

  16. Totally agree with the crappy phone recordings. I went to see the Avett Brothers a few weeks ago and the person right in front of me just had to capture every moment with her phone. WHAT??? Why is that such a thing? How can you possibly enjoy yourself in the moment if you’re so busy with your phone?

    Anyway, hopefully one day people will wise up.

  17. I bought a Dewalt 16 gauge cordless nailer and it changed my life. No cords, no air compressor, although I hear it is heavy, a year later I still yell “I love this freaking thing!” while I’m using it. I’m just buying Dewalt 18v stuff now, and the interchangeable batteries and the bright yellow color are great (can find them in a heap of debris, easy!)

    Thanks for your blog, I absolutely love your passion for remodeling, and on the same budget as me! I have a 1903 Queen Anne and it is blogs like yours that make my incessant thinking and researching about my house seem almost sane.

  18. wow.

    Three things.
    1. angsty birthday feelings….YES! ME TOO!
    2. Pure Heroine….. ON REPEAT FOR MONTHS ON END!
    3. Filming/photo taking at concerts….. I actually took a picture of ALL OF THE PHONES at my Lorde concert because it was so ridiculous. (it HAS to be a generational thing) i spent a lot of my time watching Lorde ON PEOPLES PHONES.

    Also…. if someone right next to me or in front of me is taking a “crappy low-quality piece of footage that they’ll never watch again” I like to sing REALLY LOUDLY AND OBNOXIOUSLY in the direction of the phone and yell things like OMAIGUDNESS I LOVE YOU LORDE!!!!! MARRY MEEEE!!!!! That way their video is even crappier. Or my singing ends up on some random’s facebook page. (insert evil laugh here)

    • This made me really laugh. I’m going to remember it, because it’s such a great idea to annoy the annoying back (even though I hardly do any concerts at all). Seriously true that people need to stop using their phones to try to catch things in the most crappiest way possible, irritating everyone around them at the same time.

  19. I have the renovation memories as well: cold dark nights in July, stripping texture off the ceilings, listening to this compelling song called ‘Tennis Court’ that was all over Australian alt-radio.

    It makes me happy that you like Lorde too. Aw, yes, we’re on each other’s team.

  20. Glad you love Lorde – we do too in NZ. So proud of her and how she projects herself. She is so humble, multi-talented and seems to take all the crap that is thrown at on FB and other sites remarkably well. Stay true to yourself!

  21. Lorde’s interview with Tavi Gevinson (Rookie Magazine) made me LOVE her. So smart. SO well spoken.
    http://www.rookiemag.com/2014/01/lorde-interview/

  22. I’m a Kiwi who loves Lorde, yay. My husband and I replace words in almost all songs with our dog’s name and dog appropriate lyrics and ten mins ago we were both singing an updated version of ‘Royals’ to Him. Sad, but Badger thinks all songs are about him.

    • hahaha OH MY GOD I love that someone else does this!!! I am laughing so hard right now. my boyfriend and I do it ALL the time. the all-time classic is “long cool puppy in a black coat” because he’s black and white… but the other day Pharrell’s song “Happy” came on the radio and we sang along and now I’ve had “because I’m a puppy… clap your paws if you feel like Oscar with a squirrel” stuck in my head for like 48 hours.

  23. Another post that made me LAUGH OUT LOUD (LOL wasn’t good enough) and share with my daughter. I only wish I was fascinating enough for you to want to play with my hair. BTW, my husband and I were at a concert a month ago and a young man in front of me recorded numerous songs with his phone, not even up high, and it annoyed the hell out of me. I’m a little relieved to know others find this annoying/distracting as well. I was about to embarrass my husband ask the kid to knock it off when he suddenly quit. Mercy for us all.

  24. Oh Daniel, I haven’t even finished reading your post but thank you so much for those adjectives in relation to pop music. I’ll be using them. You summed it up.

  25. Heavens. For a minute I thought you meant Lordi.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lordi

  26. I hadn’t heard about her before, maybe her music still needs to cross the ocean. I tried the one song you embedded, and it definitely has me intrigued. I’m going to search for more of her, seems like it’s going to be great for whenever I need to get things out of my head…

  27. OMG I HATE that cell phone video recording at concerts behavior! so unbelievably annoying and rude. and like you said, they’re never going to watch that low-quality video anyway.

    but minor annoyance aside, I’m so glad it was an amazing concert!! I looooooooove Lorde. her interview in Rolling Stone a few issues ago just made me love her even more. she seems so delightfully humble and self-aware, especially considering her age!

  28. Painted my bathroom to her album this week on your recommendation — I figured if you of all people took the time to gush about a musician, you must really mean it. Loved it. And I’m glad that people haven’t been talking about Madonna’s daughter this whole time… (am I the only one who thought this? Am I old now?)

    Such great taste in EVERYTHING Daniel. Must be hard :)

  29. Love love love your blog Daniel! A girlfriend and I always talk about how beautiful your home is and how ballsy you are with your reno. So glad your a fan of Lorde! She’s making everyone really proud back home in NZ :)

  30. Love that you guys found and love Lorde too!

    She’s a Kiwi, it’s so great. :)

    You know some American’s thought Lordes producers and record label had Made Up NZ as a country to help sell her music?!

    Just saying, New Zealand is a real place. ;)

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