Lorde is evidently a huge hit in her native New Zealand. Not bad for a sixteen year old. And, indeed, her voice is not bad at all for a sixteen year old–she sounds much older (and perhaps it’s not even worth mentioning her age, but KCRW did, so I will too). She has a deep and sophisticated voice (in the way that young Fiona Apple blew me away with the intensity of her voice on her debut).
The song itself is quite plain (as are all of the songs on her entire KCRW performance). There’s primarily percussion (some really interesting choices there), simple keyboard notes or washes and (quite often) multi-layered voices–all prerecorded). And she sings over the sparseness with her powerful throaty voice.
Interestingly, for being a popular success, her songs aren’t all that poppy. They are certainly not bubblegum and some of the tracks are quite dark. (Although lines like, “let’s go down to the tennis court, talk it up like yeah” certainly don’t speak to any depth). And yet the songs are “topical” according to Lorde herself.
“Royals” might be the least interesting of the tracks during the set, and while I like it, I’m not sure why it became so huge. But fair play to her.
[READ: August 8, 2013] “Four O’Clock”
This book is a collection of H.P. Lovecraft works and items associated with him. Like this story from his wife Sonia H. Greene. In theory Lovecraft did not edit this piece (I venture no opinion) and so it stands as her own story.
It is a very simple story. Indeed, there is hardly any plot and only one character.
In this story the narrator (never identified as man or woman) says that at about 2 in the morning she knew it was coming. And it is coming at, yes, four o’clock. The narrator is terrified of what is coming and for much of the story, we don’t learn a thing about what it is. We just know through ever escalating fear, that it is coming.
At four o’clock.
There are some wonderful descriptions here, including how the crickets are chirping the words four o’clock. And her ever mounting terror is certainly palpable. But there are some problems here. The thing coming at four o’clock is essentially the revenge of a man. The narrator argues innocence in the matter, but we never learn exactly what happened. Just that the victim died and was buried in the cemetery that is outside of her window. And that he promised revenge.
So the story is more or less and exercise in writing about being afraid and escalating fear. And as such, it’s a good exercise. Although once the creature/thing rises from the grave, its form is not terribly fear-inspiring. and since we don’t really care all that much about the narrator–we don’t even have proof of innocence–there’s just not that much here.