Lorde, the teen singing sensation from New Zealand, was one of the great music discoveries of last year. Her compelling music consists of her husky, beautifully pitched vocals; a brilliantly minimalist electronic soundscape; and lyrics that take aim at our culture’s soul-killing consumer madness.
She writes most of her own material, and it’s first-rate. Nevertheless, the song on her debut album, Pure Heroine, that really stopped me short was her arresting cover of The Replacements’ “Swinging Party.” The last thing I expected to hear on a mega-popular electronic pop album by a New Zealand teenager was a gorgeous take on a great Paul Westerberg song. And yet here it was.