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."

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With "Pure Heroine," Lorde ensures that her reign is built to last.

LORDE Pure Heroine


BOTTOM LINE New Zealand 16-year-old brings 'Royals,' radio-friendly teenage angst to the world.