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Lorde’s Pure Heroine Reviewed by 16-Year-Olds

Lorde is 16 years old. You know this, we know this; it is the most popular (and mind-boggling) fact about the New Zealand singer. It’s also crucial to her music, because Lorde sings about what it’s like to be a teen. Adults love this about her, since we miss being teens. But do teens agree with Lorde’s outlook? Vulture asked six 16-year-olds to listen to Pure Heroine and answer a few questions. Here are their thoughts.

Lucy Cappello, from New York, New York
Lucy had actually already downloaded Pure Heroine when we got in touch with her — she knew about Lorde from Spotify and Pandora.

Did you like "Royals?"
Yeah, but not as much as some of the other ones.

What was your favorite song?

"Ribs." When you listened to it with headphones, it goes back and forth between your ears.

Does the album remind you of anything else?

I guess it's less depressing Lana Del Rey.

Did you think this music was depressing?

Not really. It's not super upbeat, I guess.

Is this something that you would listen to you on your own?

Yeah. I listened to it on the way to school.

Do your friends like it?

One of my friends has heard of it. But I'm trying to get people to go with me to the concert, and they're like, What?

Will Wisotsky, from San Diego, California
Will’s a musician himself — he plays both piano and guitar. He knew “Royals” from the radio (“At first I thought it was Regina Spektor”) and had heard a little bit about Lorde herself.

What did you think of the album?
I thought it was pretty interesting. She has an amazing voice. I felt like some of it was a little weird — some of the lyrics are a little out there.

How do you mean?

I was just listening to "Swinging Party." I expected it to be a party song, but then I listened to the lyrics, and I just didn't understand some of them. I think some of the lyrics are cool, but this one just went over my head.

Do you relate to what she's singing about?

Yeah, actually, a lot of them are sort of poetic. They're a bit abstract, but they're good representations of what it's like when you're stressed about money and stuff.

Do you like the music?

“Royals,” obviously, I really like. It's really catchy. “Tennis Court” I really like. There are other songs I'm going to listen to a lot.

Is this something that you would listen to on your own?

Yeah, definitely.

Do your friends like it?

I told my friends I was doing this, and a lot of my friends didn't know who she was.

Jeremy Morgan, Woody Jean, and Ricky Otto, from Orlando, Florida
Jeremy, Woody, and Ricky go to the same high school and know each other from the football team. They also had heard “Royals” on the radio, but otherwise Lorde was new to them. I interviewed them at the same time.

What did you guys think of the album?
Jeremy:
I thought she sounded like a mixture of Adele, Katy Perry, and Ellie Goulding. I thought her voice was really good and the beats were pretty good.
Woody:
I thought her voice was pretty good. Not bad.
Ricky:
I thought her music was good. I like how she uses the beats.

Is this something that you would listen to you on your own?

Jeremy:
No, I don’t think I’d listen to her on my own. Most people would. I have a lot of friends that would, but not me. I like rock and hip-hop.
Woody:
I felt like, if I wanted to fall asleep — in a good way. It’s soothing music.
Ricky:
I’m more of a guy that listens to rock. I think she’s really good at what she does, so I might listen sometimes.

Do you relate to what she's singing about?

Jeremy:
I couldn’t understand what she was saying sometimes. I had no idea what point she was trying to get across. I just thought she sounded pretty good.
Woody
: I had the same issue. She didn’t really get her point across to me. You heard what she was saying, but what’s the deeper meaning?
Ricky:
Some of the song titles don’t really relate to the song.
Jeremy:
I think she’d be better if she could speak more clearly and get the words out. Her lyrics could be good, but I don’t know what she’s saying. It’s confusing.

Madison Clark, from San Diego, California
Madison does all-star cheerleading and plays piano, saxophone, guitar, and ukelele. Like everyone else, she’d heard “Royals” on the radio, but she didn’t know that Lorde was 16.

Did you like the rest of the album?
I really did. Off the top of my head, the two songs I really loved were “400 Lux” and “Buzzcut Season.”

What'd you like about them?

I really like how the tempo and melody are both really laid back. And I think the lyrics that she writes are so meaningful, even though they're really simple.

Do you relate to them at all?

Yeah, definitely. The song “400 Lux” — the entire thing was like my entire summer this year. I really love that song.

Is this something that you would listen to you on your own?

Totally. I listen to this when I study, or when I'm in the car. These are songs that I'm genuinely into.

Do any of your friends know about it?

I think right now people only know the “Royals” song.

Photo: Maya Robinson and Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic