Album: The Love Club (2013)
Label: Lava, Republic
Producer: Joel Little
At this point, the Lorde backlash is in full effect. But that was inevitable. It happens every time one of these songs comes out of nowhere and gets played into the ground. It happened with Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know" and fun.'s "We Are Young," and 2014 will undoubtedly bring a couple more of these slowly spreading hits that end up being the most popular and most hated on songs in the country at the same time. (Damn.)
When it comes down to it, the appealing thing about Lorde's "Royals," from the start, was that it was different. Sure, it was catchy as hell and easy to digest, but it wasn't like your typical pop radio hit. The production was minimal, the slower tempo wasn't for the dance floor, and the lyrics denounced the lavish world that Lorde would unknowingly soon become a part of. But when she wrote it, she was a 16-year-old from New Zealand who hadn't yet left the country.
About a year after "Royals" was uploaded to a Soundcloud that nobody was following, it became the No. 1 song in the U.S. By that time, it had already topped the charts in many other countries. And now "Royals" has lost some of the appeal of being different because it is the song playing in every grocery store across the country, no longer the buried hit that nobody knows about. It's the norm now, but that's the reason it's so important to 2013. Whether intentional or not, and no matter how much hate she receives for it, Lorde proved that different is something that a lot of people have been waiting for. —Jacob Moore