“Blood stains. Ball gowns. Trashin’ the hotel room. We don’t care, we’re driving Cadillacs in our dreams.”
“Royals”, the indie-pop single of the moment that has managed to knock Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” from the top spot, plants an ironic anti-consumerist flag in the entertainment industry.
Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O'Connor, better known by her stage name as Lorde, manages to break into mainstream pop with a message that challenges its obsession with wealth — a decidedly anti-mainstream meaning.
In a materialistic culture that thrives on selling products, implicitly telling consumers that they are never enough, Lorde reminds us that, contrary to this belief, we’re actually okay without all that.
Without worrying about keeping up with the latest, not only are we free to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, but we can rest in that it’s okay to be normal.
“We’ll never be royals/ it don’t run in our blood/ that kind of luxe just ain’t for us/ we crave a different kind of buzz,” she sings. “And everyone that knows us knows that we’re fine with this/ we didn’t come for money [… ] Life is great without a care/ we aren’t caught up in your love affair.”
And while Lorde specifically sings about money and the music industry, this can be applied to anything: feeling pressure to conform to standard ideas of beauty or to be so accomplished in the professional world by the time we reach 25.
These things aren’t bad in themselves, but becoming too wrapped up in them, we forget what’s really important. “Royals” is a good reminder to stay out of it, and the non-conformist in me loves that idea.
Despite her youth, Lorde’s communicated a deep truth that many people beyond her years fail to grasp. If we want to be truly happy, we have to shift our mentality of greedy pursuit of royalty — in whatever form it takes in our lives — to a simplistic contentment in who we are and what we already have.