So much of New Zealand indie-pop wunderkind Lorde's appeal is wrapped up in her self-conscious outsider status that it's hard not to wonder what will happen if her career takes off and she gets fully subsumed into the Hollywood machine. Case in point: the hubbub this week over Lorde's sorta-slams on Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift, which gave the Kiwi pixie her first-ever Internet scandal.
In an interview with hometown magazine Metro, Lorde struck a familiar note: She's a normal teenage girl, not manufactured, not glossy. This wouldn't be controversial—see "Royals" and every other song on Pure Heroine—except for one problem: She named names.
“Taylor Swift is so flawless, and so unattainable, and I don’t think it’s breeding anything good in young girls. ... I’m never going to be like Taylor Swift—why can’t I be as pretty as Lorde? That’s fucking bullshit.”
Combined with earlier comments on Selena Gomez (""I’m a feminist and the theme of ["Come & Get It"] is, ‘When you’re ready come and get it from me.’ I’m sick of women being portrayed this way,") and a firestorm was born. You can say that kind of stuff when you're just another teen on tumblr—when you've got the no. 3 song in the country, those remarks have a way of finding their way to the wrong ears. Suddenly Lorde has found herself with an army of haters at her back (many of whom have seized on a particularly embarrassing Hunchback of Notre Dame meme):
Buy Royals on iTunes pic.twitter.com/cdjQXnYe7I
— Mathias (@britneyspeans) September 28, 2013
Lorde for her part seems to have learned her lesson, posting a long apology note on her tumblr.
i think i cocked that up a bit and what i said wasn’t put in context also. what i meant was: there’s a lot of importance placed on physical perfection in this industry, and i wish my favourite stars didn’t look perfect because i think fans (me included) have these feelings of worthlessness, like they’ll never be as pretty/talented/whatever, as a result of this intense photoshop culture and the endless strive for perfection. ts was the first person i thought of, which i regret. she happens to be good looking, but i think she actually uses her other imperfections in an incredibly powerful and relatable way. taylor swift has a very unique vision, which i admire. i think somewhere along the line also there was a misquote where people got the impression i thought writing about love was shameful. i don’t! i just haven’t found a way of doing it which is powerful and innovative, which is why i don’t.
ps. i am very very new to this whole thing. i will probably never be the kind of role model for my fans that ts is for hers. i admire her very much for this reason. basically, this is an apology for not thinking too hard before i speak. peace.
Don't worry, Lorde. Every pop star's got to learn that sometime.