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Pop Music’s Newest Prodigy
The song was Swallow, and its video essentially featured slow-motion close-ups of a strumming guitar, completely faded over with bluish-pinkish streams of light. It was muddled and hazy and perfectly MBV. Tamaryn Picturing the music: Student-run company Paper Frame Productions caters to local artists The music video for New Zealand vocalist Tamaryns track Heavenly Bodies is decidedly similar, and its no surprise given its obvious influences from artists like My Bloody Valentine. Its almost funny how similar the two videos are in style, especially given that the video for Swallow premiered in 1991. The video for Heavenly Bodies slowly comes into focus, revealing a blue sky as viewed from underwater. The whole video has a wet, aquatic feeling to it, overwashed with various hues of purples, blues and greens. It lends an overall feeling of drifting underwater, slowly sinking, aimless and relaxed with shimmers of light occasionally shining through from above. Tamaryn appears several times, her hair stringy and wet, makeup smeared and skin dewy, an overlay of water droplets sliding down a glass wall occasionally appearing. And of course theres the obligatory close-up of a guy playing a guitar that shows up several times. It all just makes so much sense. Its not particularly fun to watch, and whether or not it adds something to the song is debatable in that the music video really is the song.
Even as her first hit single “Royals” was setting the record for the longest run by a female artist at the top of Billboard’s Alternative Chart earlier this year, turning her into an international pop star overnight, Ella Yelich-O’Connor, who is better known as Lorde, was still attending high school in suburban Auckland, New Zealand. “There’s no sense of celebrity in New Zealand,” says the 16 year-old, at her hotel in Los Angeles, where she was in between photo shoots. “Maybe if I’d grown up in L.A., I’d feel different about fame. It’s cool, but I never really cared about it that much.” With her angled cheekbones, dramatic celadon eyes, and epic mass of curls, Lorde is a pre-Raphaelite vision for modern times. Likewise, her debut album Pure Heroine, out September 30, is a blend of futurism and timeless beauty, written by a precocious teen clever enough to draw parallels in her songs between the gentle folkie confessionals of Nick Drake and the digital-driven disclosures of the rapper Drake (a personal favorite of hers). Set amid pulsing electronic soundscapes, Lorde’s expansive voice is a unique instrument: she has a bit of Lana Del Rey’s grandeur mixed with a spectral style that evokes Kate Bush. Get an exclusive listen to Lorde’s debut album here And while “Royals,” and its runaway success, seemed to come out of nowhere, in fact Lorde has been writing songs since she was 12. After she was discovered at a talent show, she quickly signed a development deal with Universal Music. Despite this incubation period, she is not, she is quick to stress, a product of the industrial pop-star machine. “People get suspicious, but I write all of my songs,” she insists. “Otherwise, it wouldn’t mean anything to me. For me, making music is selfish-I do it because I like to do it.” See Also: The Best Celebs to Follow on Instagram The songs on Pure Heroine offer cheeky but honest appraisals of her sudden renown: “Riding around on bikes, we’re still sane/I won’t be here tripping onstage /Still like hotels and my newfound fame/Hey, promise I can stay good.” Other tracks were clearly written before “Royals” took off; she sings, on the album’s second single “Tennis Court,” “Pretty soon I’ll be getting on my first plane.” “I’ve been on planes ever since,” she says now. “My first few times flying, I was so excited. But flying anywhere from New Zealand takes like 20 hours. If you’re sitting in economy, you get some serious bum smells.