Barely out of her teenage years, Ella Yelich-O’Connor, who the music world knows better as Lorde, delivers a euphoric pop record that is endlessly self-assured despite her young age.
Packed with confounding twists and turns that eschew the traditional songwriting formula, the record establishes a new normal for the pop anthem format that is sure to be mimicked well into the future. While the production is sleek and impenetrable, its core strength lies in her lyrics, which are equally steeped in the melodrama of youth (as the title promises) and self-aware, romantic and relatable. Even whilst singing about weathering a particularly bad breakup, or celebrating a particularly debaucherous evening clubbing, there is a wise-beyond-years mindfulness to Lorde’s storytelling that presents earnestly as she captures those heart swells and heartbreak. And her rich and robust alto vocal range is absolutely decadent.
While the pop world chomps at the bit for Taylor Swift’s return, I can’t help but feel betrayed by the buzz. 2017 has its big, bold, fearless banger and I can’t wait until the next time this record leaves me euphoric and breathlessly satisfied. (Republic/Lava)