Kiwi teen Ella Yelich-O’Connor’s hit about the ungraspable fantasies that pop stars portray in song is starting to look pretty ironic. As Lorde the 17-year-old has ruled the charts lately, her single Royals reaching number one worldwide and earning her two Grammys and a BRIT.
Even if her next album ends up about being bezzies with Taylor Swift and drinking all that Grey Goose she wasn’t old or rich enough to get the first time, right now she still looks like pop’s most striking gatecrasher. At her first London show since a tiny club set before the frenzy last September, she started out alone before a black curtain, below a giant chandelier. In a masculine dark suit, thick hair flailing as she bent double over her microphone singing Glory and Gore, it was easy to see why she’s been billed as the anti-Miley.
Next to the stunts, explosions and inflatables of the arena crowd, her set-up was almost absurdly minimal. A drummer largely using pads and a keyboard player largely triggering samples appeared, offering a skeletal backdrop to words that turned everyday teendom into poetry.
On the stunning piano pulse of Buzzcut Season, she pretended to avoid the horrors of the news with a perfect day at the pool. Ribs described the first house party she ever threw and showed this precocious girl already worrying about getting old.
During Team she left the stage and returned in a golden gown for a confetti shower. Even when attempting the pop show cliches she still looked like a kid raiding the dressing up box, heavy shoes showing underneath. Long may she stay that way.