Ella Yelich O’Connor, better known as Lorde, released her debut album Pure Heroine five years ago Thursday. Most notable for tracks like “Royals” and “Tennis Courts,” Lorde’s debut resonates with anyone who was having normal teenage issues like young love, partying and the internet. Alas, the chart-topping album still holds up today and is nearly flawless from beginning to end. Here are the all 10 songs ranked:
10. “White Teeth Teens”
“White Teeth Teens” falls at No. 10 for no particular reason. A song had to be No. 10 is all, really. The song is slower paced in comparison to the rest of the album, but it is a much-needed break from the typical dance flow the rest of the album posses. However, it serves as an excellent showcase for Lorde’s vocal range.
9. “Still Sane”
A bit of a droning song, but that’s the point of the it. “All work and no play,” is repeated throughout. It’s addressing Lorde’s then-recent time in the limelight and how she keeps sane in dealing with it. “Still Sane” falls here similarly for just being a bit slower and lacking a bit of substance that the listener could relate to the way Lorde does.
8. “Buzzcut Season”
A sort of beautiful metaphor — “I remember when your head caught flame” — leads the song. It arguably represents someone losing their mind and going off the tracks for a bit. “Buzzcut Season” addresses how dark the world is able to be and how young people can be blinded through ignorance.
7. “Glory and Gore”
Lorde addresses how both glory and gore are intertwined, meaning that it’s a hard path to fame. The song is arguably the hardest-hitting on the album. While straightforward in lyrics, it’s a welcome change in pace in regard to the rest of the album with the overall tone of the song.
The song that really put Lorde on the charts, “Royals” is simple beat with lyrics that are hard critique of the lavish boasting of hip-hop music. Though the song is probably her most popular tune, she talks about how she isn’t familiar with the diamonds on watches or expensive alcohol.
“Team” is a song about reconciling with how teenagers are, in a way, all on the same team. “We live in cities, you’ll never see on the screen” refers to the normal suburban neighborhoods many people grow up in and how young people have an innate ability to make the best of any situation. It may came to mind people’s minds just after “Royals” in terms of popularity, but it’s overall a more intimate song that’s easy to relate to as she lets you know she on your team.
4. “400 Lux”
Sort of an ode to spending time with a loved one, “400 Lux” talks about how you can enjoy time with one another just by simply being with one another. The lyrics tell the story of being picked up by your young lover and just driving around the town. Young people are especially able to connect with the bores of the suburbs and trying their best to find fun without any fun being around them. Queue endless car rides around town and hanging out at grocery stores.
3. “Tennis Court”
The opening track of the album starts with a pretty open-ended question: “Don’t you think it’s boring how people talk?” The question should resonate with the listener throughout the album as it comes back up in the closing track. Lorde sets the tone with a somber song and just talking about why she is doing what she’s doing. She also loosely addresses how she is just going to be her natural self despite the chatter about her.
“Ribs” is a song that defines a common existential crisis amongst young people: the fear of growing up. Lorde reminisces on a party thrown when her parents were out of town. Between a drink being spilt on her and sharing a bed, she realizes that life is rapidly happening before her eyes. “Ribs” is also able to send anyone in their late teens to 20-somethings into a rapid crisis about growing up as well. Thanks, Ella.
1. “A World Alone”
One line of this song sort of defines this album as a whole: “Maybe the internet raised us.” Lorde addresses how her entire generation was raised surfing the web with little watch from their parents. She closes the song with “Let them talk” in a reference to the first line of the album “Don’t you think it’s boring how people talk?” Essentially, Lorde takes the entire album to realize that people are always going to talk — positively and negatively — about her, so she decides to just let them.