Is Lorde the new Kate Bush?
It’s almost sacrilege to compare anyone to Madam Bush who has graced us with her ethereal tunes since the timeless Wuthering Heights in 1978. However in the past couple of years I have been watching the rise of the very talented Lorde, a Kiwi performer with a similarly offbeat style. Lorde shot to stardom in 2013 with her minimalist debut single Royals.
Before beginning this piece, I must admit that while my knowledge of popular music is reasonable, I’m by no means an expert in the specifics of genres (“beats per minute” might as well be another language to me). Additionally, it’s not that Lorde is setting new trends in the world of music (as far as I know). But earlier this week something caught my eye that has stuck in my mind ever since; her new song Green Light.
There is something about Green Light which is, well, Bushy. Perhaps its the vocal flourishes before the hook. Perhaps its the piano intro (think Wuthering Heights) followed by a gushing hook. Perhaps its the unexpected euphoria of the hook itself – Vulture describes it as “like someone banging on a car stereo and switching from Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights” to Icona Pop’s “I Don’t Care” midway through.” Maybe its just how she looks in the video;
And it seems I’m not the only one. Wanggo Online recently wrote a piece about how “Lorde is giving me serious Kate Bush feels“. That article points to how Lorde takes control of her artistry and how she expresses herself. This was perhaps best demonstrated in her shamelessly (fabulously?) unusual performance at the Grammy Awards in 2014.
The similarities don’t stop there. Acculturated has noted that like Bush, Lorde was picked up as a star at a young age and then “developed” into a late-teen star who was ready to face the world with confidence. The same article by Mark Tapson notes that;
“Whereas Lorde’s music (so far) is focused on capturing the essence of teenage experience, Bush’s surreal and melodramatic songs ran a bizarre gamut of topics that often stemmed from outside herself and her personal experience.”
While this is true, Lorde’s talent seems to suggest that she may be capable of such musical feats that perhaps border on the literary. But where Lorde and Kate Bush are stylistically most aligned, in my opinion, is in their “intelligent, no-bullshit spirit of the youth” as Wanggo Online’s article put it. And an intelligent, no-bullshit popular artist is never a bad thing.