On her debut, "Pure Heroine" (Universal Republic), Lorde's greatest asset is that she sounds like herself, a cool 16-year-old, rather than what some team of corporate 30-somethings think a 16-year-old should sound like.
She's rebellious on her surprise smash "Royals," where she takes down bling-obsessed culture with lines like "We crave a different kind of buzz" over a loping beat. She's mastered the part-bored, part-angry teenage hybrid on the even catchier pop anthem "Team," which could actually eclipse "Royals." But she's not so jaded that she can't capture youthful excitement on "Tennis Court."
With "Pure Heroine," Lorde ensures that her reign is built to last.
LORDE Pure Heroine
THE GRADE B+
BOTTOM LINE New Zealand 16-year-old brings 'Royals,' radio-friendly teenage angst to the world.