Young artists, especially musicians and actors/actresses, have begun to exponentially rattle the expectations of quality, artistic content throughout the past few decades by questioning where it must come from. As is constantly relevant in the mainstream music industry, independent skill and originality isn’t exactly the main selling point for many producers. I have heard the constant bombardment of people’s reasoning for disliking certain younger artists, usually consisting of the comparative quality of content, talent, skill, aesthetic pleasure, and how their presence in the industry impacts its targeted generation. Honestly, the issue of whether or not “young” or “new” music is good is one that I am exhausted of participating in. The content is usually dry and the arguments are subjective. In many senses, the aesthetics regarding mainstream or charting music is similar to wine; with the passing of decades, the more the slow yet continuous growth of positive reactions increases. However, Lorde’s appearance on the charts and presence in the music industry has left me reeling in awe and has silenced many critics of modern music. Her combination of both youth and composure leaves her content relatable to a wide range of adolescents and young adults, while her discipline and large, experimental with style and content leaves all of her music fresh and exhilarating. This is something that should not be undermined, and is truly something to be recognized on a professional scale.
I have noticed that one of the first comments people make when Lorde is mentioned is her age, and usually with impressed expressions (i.e. “Lorde is only seventeen and she’s won two Grammy’s while I’m over here having difficulty buttering my bagel”.) Age and youth in any art industry is an incredibly peculiar concept, and seems to rarely be a positive attribute until the individual discovers a sense of self and projects it twice as well as an artist twice their age. Luckily, Lorde’s adoption of the expectations within the music industry and making them her own personal statements has treated her well.
Not only is Lorde’s work poetically phrased and tediously articulate, it is raw, eerie, intellectual, and personable. As stated by Jonah Weiner from The Rolling Stones, her work, “explore[s] classic teen-pop themes – social anxiety, romantic yearning, debilitating ennui, booze-soaked ragers – with an eerie, zoomed-out detachment.” For me, it is the uniqueness and fresh energy of Lorde within her personal experiences that explains her popularity, not her impressive development in regards to her youth.
Many claim that her remarkable intuition, development, and composure are well beyond her years, both as an individual and as an artist. Yet what are expected of “her years” to begin with? It may be rational to claim that younger individuals have less experience in developing skill, voice, and discipline, as these are all time-sensitive characteristics for an artist.
Sure, Lorde should not be the common example for the rest of her age group, but to only associate discipline and skill with age is an incredibly limiting mindset. That being said, if anyone else did what Lorde has done, it would not have the same effect.