QUIRKY POP RATE: The Debuts | Debut Days Are Over | ♥ Sophomore Rate now open! | Page 191 | The Popjustice Forum

QUIRKY POP RATE: The Debuts | Debut Days Are Over | ♥ Sophomore Rate now open!

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by soratami, Apr 3, 2020.

  1. [​IMG]
    Write-up by @savilizabeths

    The first time I ever saw Ella Yelich-O'Connor was as a chorus member in her high school production of West Side Story. I believe there is a picture somewhere of her dancing with my best friend's little sister. The same best friend performed in the talent show Ella was discovered at. In Auckland you can basically play Six Degrees of Lorde. The first time I heard her stage name was in my drama class when someone mentioned 'Royals' and wondered aloud if she would become successful. At the time we had two Kiwi singers doing well on our charts--Ella and Ginny Blackmore and I heard a few debates about which musician would blow up. I suppose now we definitely have our answer.

    Tickets to her first big Auckland concert were in high demand. I was somewhere else that night but I heard plenty from the people who went, a few who even sat in the front row. At the time I don't think we had any idea what she would become. As her hype began to spread over the world we were quick to proclaim how she was ours. In New Zealand we don't have a whole lot we're known for but it was looking like we were about to have a full on quirky superstar on our hands and let's just say we were proud of that. Ella was Lorde now.

    'Royals', of course, was the big hit. It was inescapable in 2013 and served as an antithesis to the superficiality of modern pop and hip-hop. "I've never seen a diamond in the flesh" she proclaims the second the song begins. It's an anthem for everyone who can't relate to the extravagance artists casually spat out and we all ate it up. We would never be royals and we did not care! The song paints a romantic picture of our less glamorous lives and it made them look just as beautiful. You'd think the song was written by somebody who lives in the part of Auckland I do (if you tell someone you live in my area they will make fun of you. It's pretty shit here) instead of the nicest part of town where every one of us would kill to live but regardless, the song is truly special and the world was perfectly happy to accept her as their new indie Queen Bee with open arms.

    I walked into JB-Hi-Fi on the 27th of September 2013 empty handed and left with my copy of Pure Heroine clutched in my hands. I climbed in my mothers car and immediately slid it into the CD player to delve into my first listen. Since then I cannot count the number of times I have listened to those ten songs. It's enough that it only just missed the cut for my Albums of the Decade list. Pure Heroine is such a special album. It immerses you in her world, her mind and it's hard not to get wrapped up in it. It's a perfect picture of an odd sixteen year old as she observes and experiences life. She's a wise beyond her years thinker who can write beauty into the small things, making a simple night drive with someone she likes into a piece of art that has stuck with me in the years since. Listening to this album makes me feel like I knew her, as if I lived my teenage years alongside alongside her and her friends.

    What makes this record even more incredible is that it was created by a team of two. Joel Little and Ella completely wrote and produced every song on this project which results in such a cohesive body of work. Every song sounds like a piece of the same puzzle. Like I said, it sounds like it's own little world. It creates pictures in my mind. I see and feel all of it. The minimalistic production pairs perfectly with the often simple yet sharp lyricism. Everything sounds so carefully chosen yet so raw at the same time. The soft, throbbing percussion heavy production never pulls attention away from the words she sings and every track is elevated by layers of vocals. There are harmonies and background vocals all sung by Ella all over this record and they're an important part of its sound. I'm a sucker for songs wrapped in beautiful harmonies and I love a good octave unison moment, which it seems she is as well. Her vocals are gorgeous too. They're not flashy but she has such a unique, slightly raspy low tone that stands out amongst a lot of brighter, more belt-y pop stars.

    'Tennis Court' opens the record and immediately sets the tone of what to expect. Lorde isn't interested in the superficial gossip and small talk of her suburban life. She is working for the things she wants and digs deeper than most of her classmates. There is a certain nostalgia about the imagery as she sees her fame begin to skyrocket. "It's a new art form showing people how little we care" she sings, perfectly capturing in a single line what being in high school felt like at the time, especially when you were different (or erm, quirky). I love how soft the verse production is before bursting into the simple yet big sounding chorus, synths almost sounding like a fanfare of sorts. We then shift into '400 Lux' which is one of my favourites on the record. I see it in my head like a movie. It's as if I can feel the cool night breeze coming in from the open windows of the car as we drive. I've driven the streets of Auckland so many times that I can just picture it all. She paints the night in such detail. It's a love song to the ease of being with someone you care about, even if you're doing the mundane that you've done a million times.

    We'll skip past 'Royals' to 'Ribs', a song I didn't appreciate on first listen but has since become one of my favourite things she's ever made. The quiet throbbing bass captures the feeling of the party she's singing about, almost sounding like you've stepped into the bedroom to get away for a moment and think while everyone else rages downstairs. Fear of ageing is practically ingrained into us so much so that we feel it even in our teen years. Lorde is throwing a party while reflecting on fleeting youth. She misses the way it felt when she was younger. Things always get more complicated as we age, don't they? The part I love most about the song is how she repeats the verses with a faster cadence, different melody and octave unison. It's almost as if the first time is more thoughtful and the second time is more rushed and tipsy. 'Buzzcut Season' is also special. It really feels like a lazy summer day by the pool and I adore the use of a xylophone! The message and desire to escape the harsh realities of life couldn't be more relatable in the world we're living in today. It's pure escapism. 'Team' is a monster of a moment. Pure alternative pop with handclaps driving the beat. The melody is gorgeous and it's perhaps my favourite vocal performance on the album. Lorde ditches her lower tones for a softer, lighter sound more in her mid-range, of course with another use of octave unison in the chorus! She's said the song is a tribute to her "friends and home country" and I definitely think it's a good one, especially now. With the current pandemic our Prime Minister and government have been referring to us as a team. If you walk into a store you'll usually see a sign telling you to stay two metres apart and work as a team to overcome this. This approach has worked as we now only have eight active cases. We truly are a team so relistening to the song today feels even more special. And hey, if you do want to see our cities on screen you can watch the new Daniel Radcliffe film Guns Akimbo which was shot in Auckland City, where I am currently writing this. So never say never I suppose.

    I suppose if I had to pick a least favourite song it would be 'Glory and Gore', which I know is an unpopular opinion. It's got a hip-hop, electronic influence and talks about the glorification of violence and celebrity culture. I think the lyrics are really interesting and there's a lot you can read into them, but I've just never had much to say about it even though I know I should have plenty. It's 100% not a skip though. There are no skips here. I suppose 'Still Sane' is the closest thing here to a true ballad. The atmosphere is spacious and feels like a big empty room with Lorde standing in the middle looking small. She sings about her "newfound fame" and vows to "stay good". She's ambitious, she loves working and is enjoying the way her life is changing, though she knows that this is likely to change. Another highlight comes in 'White Teeth Teens' which I heard many people cite as a favourite early on. The drums have a major military vibe which pairs nicely with the images of uniform popularity. I feel as if the themes are a bit reminiscent of 'The Love Club' and observes those who everyone wants to be. They're perfect and they live their lives having fun and being carefree. Lorde isn't one of those people, even if she might have wanted to be at one point and that's okay. You don't have to fit that mould. She fits in with the outcasts and sings for them.

    The final track on the standard edition is 'A World Alone' which I love with my whole heart. The second the opening guitars sound I fall in love all over again. It sounds a little dark as she begins to paint pictures of a relationship where it feels like the rest of the world falls away and it's just you two. It's the little details that I love. She feels more adult in his car with him, her nails are bitten, he bites her lip. Just like in 'Tennis Court' she is uninterested in her friends talk of work and school and her boyfriend has spent the night smoking. Everyone else sucks, except him. Isn't that how young love feels? You don't care what people say because you hate everyone but the one you're with. She is self aware though, knowing that the relationship is likely to fall apart eventually but for now she's happy to just dance alone with him, her best friend. The vibe is moody yet hopeful and it's an absolutely stellar finale.

    Ten tracks. A look into the mind of Ella Yelich-O'Connor in her quirky girl teenage years. After a long absence she returned with Melodrama in 2017 which is hailed as a forum favourite. But while it's an absolutely stunning album, I don't think anything could ever touch how special Pure Heroine is to me. It takes me back to a past time in my life. I feel every moment so strongly. I have so many memories attached. It's a strange, wonderful journey that I will never get tired of taking. As I walk the streets of Auckland I will always hear little lyric snippets from this album in my head and smile. I carry this close to my heart forever as an album and a time capsule. Thank you Ella for capturing our hometown and making some beautiful music.
  2. @savilizabeths actually sent me the Pure Heroine write-up back in late May, but I never got around to posting as at that time eliminations had already started, and I also wanted to post the write-ups in the order I got them, so Lana's would have to be first. Anyway, imagine meeting pre-fame Lorde at a high school performance, that's wild.

    And that's the sixteen album write-ups. They're all fantastic, so if anyone skipped any of them, I suggest going back and reading it!
  3. These write ups are so nice I’d love to do one for the next half of the rate.
  4. Like in this rate, I only asked the people who helped with the sophomore rate song selection (which is mostly finished by now) to do the write-ups, but if others would like to do their own write-ups as well, that'd be fantastic! Would be quite cool to have multiple write-ups for some of the albums. So go for it! And the same goes for anyone else who might be up for it.
  5. That was great fun thank you for all the effort (and delicious stats) which went into it!

    Ready for Lorde to pummel the sophomore rate...[​IMG]
  6. I can't believe that I gave the third most tens and I still didn't manage to make the Highest Average list. That zero really tanked my average, didn't it?
  7. Rate Stats - Songs

    Most 11s


    Lorde - Ribs

    Florence + the Machine - Cosmic Love

    Florence + the Machine - Drumming Song

    Sky Ferreira - Everything Is Embarrassing
    Lana Del Rey - Video Games
    Florence + the Machine - Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)
    Marina & the Diamonds - Oh No!
    Sky Ferreira - I Blame Myself

    Most 10s

    Sky Ferreira - Everything Is Embarrassing
    Lana Del Rey - Ride

    Lana Del Rey - Video Games

    Florence + the Machine - Cosmic Love
    Ellie Goulding - Lights
    Janelle Monáe - Cold War

    Most Perfect Scores (10s+11s)

    Sky Ferreira - Everything Is Embarrassing

    Lana Del Rey - Video Games

    Florence + the Machine - Cosmic Love

    Lana Del Rey - Ride

    Lorde - Ribs

    Least 10s

    Ladyhawke - Back Of The Van
    Ladyhawke - Dusk Till Dawn
    Diana Vickers - You'll Never Get To Heaven
    Nicola Roberts - Take A Bite

    Foxes - Night Owls Early Birds
    Ladyhawke - Better Than Sunday
    Little Boots - Meddle

    Lorde - Glory And Gore

    Highest Lowest Scores

    Florence + the Machine - Cosmic Love

    Sky Ferreira - Everything Is Embarrassing
    Ellie Goulding - Lights
    Lorde - Ribs
    Santigold - L.E.S. Artistes

    Lowest Lowest Scores

    Ellie Goulding - Starry Eyed
    Charli XCX - Grins
    La Roux - Quicksand

    Florence + the Machine - Dog Days Are Over
    Lana Del Rey - Born To Die
    Nicola Roberts - Beat Of My Drum
    La Roux - In For The Kill
    Natalia Kills - Kill My Boyfriend

    Most Successful Album Tracks

    Lorde - Ribs (#7)

    Sky Ferreira - 24 Hours (#24)

    Lorde - Buzzcut Season (#31)

    Charli XCX - Take My Hand (#33)

    Florence + the Machine - Howl (#34)
  8. Your average was the seventh highest! The six highest were all above 9 (the sixth highest being @berserkboi), and yours was 8.979.
  9. Leaderboard Evolution


    (the 67 voters column is the final leaderboard, the 67.5 voters one is what the leaderboard would have been like if @Maki's incomplete ballot had been counted)
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2020
  10. That's it in terms of stats, but if there's anything else anyone's curious about, feel free to ask and I'll see if I can post it.
  11. Thank you for the comprehensive stats, @soratami! We stan a thorough rate host.
  12. Do I ever wish I had given more 10s! Next time I'll bump some of those 9.5s up.
  13. I'm going to do the album masterposts now. No actual new information, but it'll be a way to have everything about each of the albums in one place, and also see how exactly the album leaderboard looks like.
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