Songs of the Weekend – Tennis Court by Lorde
Very few songs embody the current musical zeitgeist more charmingly than Tennis Court by Lorde. 16-year-old singer-songwriter Ella Yelich O’Connor uses her husky voice to deftly convey the contradictory feelings of youthful ambition and wizened ambivalence over a washed-out soundscape of synth pads and throbbing bass that’s utterly infectious.
Pretty soon I’ll be getting on my first plane
I’ll see the veins of my city like they do in space
But my head’s filling up fast with the wicked games, up in flames
How can I fuck with the fun again, when I’m known
And my boys trip me up with their heads again, loving them
Everything’s cool when we’re all in line for the throne
But I know it’s not forever
Baby be the class clown
I’ll be the beauty queen in tears
It’s a new art form showing people how little we care (Yeah)
We’re so happy, even when we’re smilin’ out of fear
Let’s go down to the tennis court, and talk it up like yeah (Yeah)
The chopped-and-screwed “Yeah’s” that punctuate the chorus further demonstrate this song’s adroit encapsulation of fashionable musical staples. In this case it involves the perfect touch of gritty Southern hip-hop to an otherwise ethereal affair.
Repeated listenings also reveal the populist trappings of Drake, Feist, Kanye, The XX, Adele and hell, even Taylor Swift. Though these influences are fairly transparent, Lorde in no way comes across as a derivative of her contemporary stalwarts. She builds upon their stylings with her own whimsical moxie to help announce her existence on the popular music landscape as a force to be reckoned with. Yeah!