Royals Makes Top Best Female Songs of the Century

An NPR Music list of the 200 Greatest Songs by 21st Century Women has put Lorde’s debut smash hit, the 2013 “Royals”, in the top 10.

According to NPR, the songs are by artists whose major musical contributions came on or after 1 January 2000, and have shifted attitudes, defied categories and pushed sound in new directions since then.

In at No 6, below Alabama Shakes, with “Hold On” and preceding Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, “100 Days, 100 Nights”, Lorde’s song dismissed “materialist luxe and bloody drama”.

“Lorde’s debut single was interpreted by some as a closed-minded critique of hip-hop. Really, it’s more like a love letter to the form,” Laura Snapes writes for NPR.

“‘Royals’ is a classic origin story detailing its 16-year-old writer’s scrappy social scene that reveals her to be no less impervious to beauty and power than her assumed targets. She uses her low-slung suburban gospel to transform a defiantly simple beat – a huge flex amid 2012’s maximalist pop scaffolding – and betrays her fascination with opulence with vocal harmonies that glitter like sunbeams glinting off a twirling diamond. Never mind riches: Her rags-to-rule declaration felt like the first anthem for her messianically purposeful Gen Z. While ‘Royals’ topped charts globally, it ultimately didn’t turn Lorde into a commercial pop behemoth but rather set her up for precisely the ‘different kind of buzz’ she sang about: namely the intimate, aesthete’s favourite, Melodrama.”

M.I.A.’s 2007 hit “Paper Planes” took the No 1 spot, ahead of the 2003 Yeah Yeah Yeah’s single, “Maps”.

Original article by Laura Snapes, NPR, July 30, 2018.


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