The Verse’s Kerrie Draghi lets us know what she thinks of Lorde’s album Pure Heroine
It’s been five years since Lorde debuted Pure Heroine when she was only sixteen and I have been trying to do justice to this album ever since. Pure Heroine overflows with memories gone by and memories I have yet to make. It’s still relevant now that I’ve only just grown out of my teenage years. Lorde is one of the very few artists whom can perfectly and honestly capture the heartbreak, awkwardness and ecstasy of youth. Especially, in such a post-modern, ironic and cynical generation such as ours. And I think that this is because Lorde was (and still is) one of us. We are a seemingly (but not really) apathetic, discontent generation. Lorde defines this in ‘Tennis Court’ when she sings “It’s a new art form showing people how little we care.”
When Pure Heroine was released, Pop culture at the time just did not get Lorde at all. But I loved her for that because she was a weird teenage girl and she made music especially for us. Listening to Pure Heroine is like having a heart to heart with my childhood best friend, nostalgic and reassuring. Together, we reminisce over the past and how much we’ve grown and continue to grow over the years. I can tell her my secrets, knowing she won’t judge and will understand. No matter how much time we spend apart, I know we’ll always find our way back to each other.
Recently, ‘Still Sane’ has become a sort of mantra to me. Inside my head, I repeat the words of the chorus to reassure myself; “I’m not in the swing of things but what I really mean is, I’m not in the swing of things yet”. Lorde’s voice ringing in my head, reminding me that I may not quite yet be, but I’m on my way to being okay.
I listen to Pure Heroine alone, I listen to Pure Heroine with new friends, I listen to Pure Heroine with strangers. On the underground back home, on the night bus alone, walking back to my new house in my new city after long nights out, in foreign but familiar bedrooms. When I’m drunk and dazed and tired, when I feel sick with loneliness, when I feel I am a part of something bigger than my body. I’m 17 years old, I’m 19 years old, I’m 20 years old. Pure Heroine is for those of us standing on the precipice between our late teens and early adulthood. It’s a good kind of cliché when your whole life feels like one bad cliché.
Lorde recognises this in ‘Team’ – “I’m kinda over being told to throw my hands up in the air. I’m kinda older than I was when I revelled without a care.”
For the most part, Pure Heroine is a ‘we’ album. “We gladiate but I guess we’re really fighting ourselves.” Lorde sings in ‘Glory and Gore’ or in ‘Ribs’ – “We’re reeling through the midnight streets.”
But in those same songs, I still sense a strong feeling of loneliness. On ‘Ribs’, Lorde confesses; “I’ve never felt more alone, it feels so scary getting old.” ‘Ribs’ is a special, rare, precious song. It feels significant and sentimental, like a memory I’ll be looking back on once I’m grown up for real. It feels like a revelation, like something I’ve always known to be true, a secret I can’t wait to reveal to every new person that I meet. At times, I feel so disconnected from all those little bright moments. Until I’m alone with my thoughts, I play Pure Heroine and all those moments are contextualised and heightened and all that more special because they are so fleeting and maybe not as brilliant as we imagined they would be. I hear this especially in ‘Ribs’ as Lorde sings, desperate and pleading, repeatedly until it’s end – “I want them back, the minds we had. It’s not enough, to feel the lack. I want them back.”
Pure Heroine is an album for the open-hearted, the outcasts and nostalgics. Its final song is ‘A World Alone’ and this song feels almost overpowering. All at once, completely heartbreaking, world-weary and perfectly self – assured. Lorde is presumed to be at a party, the chattering of people and clinking of glasses can be faintly heard throughout as she sings, “All of my fake friends and all of their noise, complain about work. They’re studying business, I study the floor. Maybe the internet raised us or maybe, people are jerks. But people are talking, people are talking, let em talk.”
This is where Pure Heroine comes to an end and I awake from its trance. Right now, I’m riding on the train at almost midnight, leaving home for the second time, Lorde’s words playing through my headphones; “and I’ll never go home again.”, and I hope that I’ll actually mean it this time.