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Pure Heroine is the debut studio album by New Zealand singer Lorde. It was released through Universal Music Group, Lava, and Republic on September 27, 2013. The album is the product of a collaboration between Lorde and producer Joel Little. After releasing her first EP The Love Club EP and its lead single "Royals" in 2013, the pair continued writing and producing material. Pure Heroine is a dream pop, electronica and electropop album built around minimal production, deep bass, and programmed beats. Lyrically, the album discusses youth and critiques of mainstream culture. The album has sold more than three million copies worldwide since its release.
From the age of 14, Lorde worked with Universal to develop her sound and artistic vision. She was signed to Universal by her manager Scott Maclachlan when she was 13 and was initially put together with a succession of different songwriters in unsuccessful attempts to develop her own music. Maclachlan told HitQuarters: "Fundamentally I think she understood that she was going to write her own music but would need someone to help with the production side of it." Lorde began writing songs on guitar at the age of "13 or 14". She was eventually paired with New Zealand compatriot writer and producer Joel Little and this working relationship clicked almost immediately. Lorde's debut extended play, 2013's The Love Club EP, received acclaim from music critics who compared the EP to the work of Sky Ferreira, Florence + the Machine, Lana Del Rey, and Grimes, and reached number one in New Zealand, number two in Australia where it was certified five times platinum for shipments of 350,000 copies, and twenty-three on the US Billboard 200.
Composition and writing
Before beginning work on Pure Heroine, Lorde stated her intention for her debut album to be a "cohesive" work. As with The Love Club EP, Pure Heroine was recorded with producer Joel Little at Golden Age Studios in Auckland. Initially Lorde and Little played demos to A&R Scott Maclachlan, in which they would discuss songs, exchange comments and change some aspects of the songs. Recording for the album was overseen by Lorde and Little, and was described by Lorde's A&R Scott Maclachlan as a fairly short process, with the majority of what Lorde played him ending up on the final edition of the album. The recording took place in Auckland's Golden Age Studios, a small studio without expensive technology, and was completed in less than a year. Lorde wanted to write her own music, and the album's content was co-written with Joel Little. Ten songs were included in the album's final track listing, with around seven or eight tracks not making the cut. When choosing the songs to include on the final track listing, Lorde and her A&R decided to keep it at ten to avoid "filler material." Lorde discussed her objectives with Pure Heroine stating;
"The goal for me is to make a body of work that is cohesive, that feels like an album and is something that I'm going to be proud of. I'm working on an album at the moment and it seems a lot of albums lately don’t feel like a cohesive set of songs that complement each other and mean something as a group. If I can make something which does feel like that, and feels right and true and good, then I will have succeeded."During the recording of the album, Lorde stated that she "didn't really have a specific sound in mind when I started recording", continuing to say she listened to a large amount of hip-hop, electronic and pop music. For influence, she cited James Blake and minimalist music. Lorde also listened to American singer Lana Del Rey, taking influence from her hip-hop genres. Later, Lorde went to show the lyrics to her boyfriend, James Lowe, and stated that sharing things with her boyfriend encouraged much of the album's writing and ultimately inspired and drove her to write the majority of the album. Lorde was a collaborative producer along with Little, in which she listened to a lot of electronic music in order for her to develop a "real taste" of what she wanted the album's production to sound like.
|1.||"Tennis Court"||Ella Yelich-O'Connor, Joel Little||Little||3:18|
|2.||"400 Lux"||Yelich-O'Connor, Little||Little||3:55|
|5.||"Buzzcut Season"||Yelich-O'Connor, Little||Little||4:06|
|7.||"Glory and Gore"||Yelich-O'Connor, Little||Little||3:32|
|8.||"Still Sane"||Yelich-O'Connor, Little||Little||3:09|
|9.||"White Teeth Teens"||Yelich-O'Connor, Little||Little||3:37|
|10.||"A World Alone"||Yelich-O'Connor, Little||Little||4:55|
|11.||"No Better"||Yelich-O'Connor, Little||Little||2:50|
|13.||"Million Dollar Bills"||Yelich-O'Connor, Little||Little||2:19|
|14.||"The Love Club"||Yelich-O'Connor, Little||Little||3:21|
|15.||"Biting Down"||Yelich-O'Connor, Little||Little||3:34|
|16.||"Swingin' Party"||Yelich-O'Connor, Little||Little||3:43|
Pure Heroine received acclaim from music critics, who praised its lyrical content and minimalistic production. At review aggregate site Metacritic, it has an average score of 79 out of 100, based on 28 reviews, indicating "generally favorable" reviews. Jason Lipshutz of Billboard gave the album a score of 94, describing the album as "immaculate" and stating that Lorde was "the most vocally striking and lyrically thought-provoking" artist to break through in recent times. He also compared Joel Little's bass, loops, and rhythms, on the album, to the dark electronica of English bands Massive Attack and The xx. Furthermore, Lipshutz called the album "honest and addictive"; stating that "the age of Lorde" had begun. Tom Cardy of The Dominion Post gave the album 4 out of 5 stars, stating that although the album was not "ground-breaking" and didn't offer any "surprises", it was a "pure gold" follow-up to her extended play The Love Club and was a "strong" debut album. David Farrier of 3 News gave a very favorable review of the album, stating that it lives "up to the hype" that it's lead single "Royals" created and exceeded expectations. Farrier called Lorde's writing "so good" and praised her maturity; describing the album as "sonically delightful", "utterly unique", and timeless. Joe Cristo of Move gave the album 5 out of 5 stars; calling it "breathtaking" and "flawless". Cristo said the album completely lacked filler tracks and rivaled "every other record that has come out within the last year, and possibly in the last ten [years]."
Chart Performance and sells
Pure Heroine debuted at number one on the Official New Zealand Chart and was certified platinum in its first week of availability; it held the peak position over the following two weeks. After eleven weeks on the chart, the album re-bounded to number two and was certified triple platinum. After spending eighteen weeks on the chart, Pure Heroine rose from three back to number one on the Official New Zealand Chart, being certificated quadruple platinum. The album also debuted at number one on the ARIA Chart in Australia. In its second week on the chart, the album fell one place to number two and was certified gold by Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). The album was ranked number nine on ARIA's 10 Albums of 2013 with sales of around 100,000 copies. Pure Heroine entered the Canadian Albums Chart at number two, with first-week sales of 15,000 copies; it was later certified platinum by Music Canada (MC) for shipments of 80,000 copies. The album sold 18,294 copies to debut at number four on the Official Charts Company's UK Albums Chart, where it was later certified gold for shipments of 100,000 copies by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).
The album debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 129,000 copies. In its second week on the chart, the album fell three places to number six, with a fifty-one percent drop in sales to 63,000 copies. In its third week, the album slipped one spot to number seven, selling 48,000 copies, however in its fourth week, the album recovered from position seven to position five, selling 40,000 units. According to Nielsen Soundscan, the album had sold 413,000 copies by 3 December 2013 and by 19 December 2013, the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), selling 541,000 copies. During the Christmas period, the album had a fourteen percent sales increase in the United States, selling 78,000 copies moving from number eleven on the Billboard 200 to number seven. On 9 January 2014, Pure Heroine jumped from number seven to number five on the Billboard 200, selling a further 46,000 copies, the album held the position the following week selling a further 33,000 copies. In July 2014, Billboard released a mid-year chart, where "Pure Heroine" came at number four, selling 641,000 copies during the first half of 2014. Pure Heroine eventually became the sixth highest selling album of 2014, selling 841,000 copies and 6.8 million tracks throughout the year.
After Lorde's performance at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, the album saw an eighty-six percent increase in sales, rebounding from number five to its original peak position at number three on the Billboard 200, with 68,000 copies sold. After slipping to number eight on the week ending of 19 February, "Pure Heroine" climbed from number eight to seven, with 39,000 copies sold, a nine percent rise. On the following week, the album rose one spot on the chart to number six, selling 30,000 copies, in doing so the album surpassed the one million mark, selling 1.01 million copies. It became the first debut to reach the million mark since October 2013 and is the first woman to have her debut album sell one million in sales since April 2011, when Adele's album 19 reached to the feat. As of November 2014, Pure Heroine has sold 2.8 million copies.
Explore more of Pure Heroine
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Interview with Scott Maclachlan - HitQuarters
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Taking Flight: 16-Year-Old Ella Yelich-O’Connor vs. Lorde, Popstar - Pigeons and Planes
- ↑ NZ Newest Pop Star - Tom Candy
- ↑ The Love Club EP – Lorde - Allmusic.
- ↑ ARIA Singles Chart – 02/09/2013 - Australian Recording Industry Association
- ↑ Lorde – Chart history: Billboard 200 - Billboard. Prometheus Global Media
- ↑ Lorde: Behind the success story (+audio) - The New Zealand Herald
- ↑ "Album's all done, am away next week but can do the week after?" - Joel Little on Twitter
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 A&R, Record Label/Company, Music Publishing, Artist Manager and Music Industry Director - HitQuarters
- ↑ Lorde: 'People have treated me like a fascinating toy' | Music | The Observer - The Guardian
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Meet Lorde: She's a Talented Teenage Badass | NOISEY
- ↑ NZ Music Sensation, Lorde, Releases First Music Video For "Royals" - The Diplomat
- ↑ Five life lessons from Tavi's interview with Lorde - Dailylife.com.au