Before Lorde moves into The Replacements’ “Swingin’ Party,” she takes a moment and smiles.
“I didn’t write this song,” she tells the adoring crowd at Roseland Ballroom Monday night, “but I wish I did.”
It’s a brilliant choice for a cover -- much like her take on Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” -- and she nails it by turning it into a danceable dirge. She transforms Paul Westerberg’s earnest awkwardness into something far darker.
There has been plenty of debate whether the Grammy-winning 17-year-old is really as crafty and as independent as she seems or whether she’s getting a lot of help from older and wiser people.
Her live show isn’t going to solve that debate. The minimalist, two-piece band and the decision to stick with backing tapes for her stacks of vocals rather than bringing along backup singers will kick up more controversy, especially when The Replacements’ cover makes it clear how strong and effective her voice is unaided.
Lorde’s Roseland concert (she returns Tuesday and Wednesday) does make a strong case for rendering the debate moot, though. Regardless of whose ideas go into her show, she’s the one who carries them out exceedingly well.
SETLIST: Gory and Glore / Biting Down / Tennis Court / White Teeth Teens / Buzzcut Season / Swingin’ Party / Still Sane / 400 Lux / Bravado / Easy / Ribs / Royals / Team / A World Alone
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