So, since I reviewed Royals last week, I thought I might as well do the music video which is actually pretty unusual. Plus, I love Lorde's hair in this video-it looks kind of wild and untamed which basically describes the song. I don't know if it's possible to have a crush on a hairstyle but I do on hers'.
Anyway, the video starts with a shot from the back of a car or truck (for some reason, I like to imagine it as a Harry Potter broom but that's because I'm crazy) driving through the streets of the suburbs, apparently travelling away. Not sure if this is entirely accurate but I heard somewhere that Lorde insisted on it being filmed in the suburbs near her own home in New Zealand? Correct me if that's wrong. Anyway, the image kind of fits in with the song-it's a song about staying true to your roots and coming from an ordinary, everyday neighbourhood, but longing to escape, and that's where and how the video's filmed.
The video's actually pretty minimalistic and simply cuts between Lorde singing and two boys-apparently her real life friends-going about their everyday business. That sounds like a pretty boring video but something about the way the images are combined with the music makes it pretty fun to watch. It is a video about ordinary, everyday teenagers-because Lorde wrote the song about ordinary, everyday teenagers. Who apparently box and bleed from the mouth.
"I'll be honest, I have no clue why that's in there."
Anyway, you don't just get shots of the two boys, you get random shots of the neighbourhood, buzzing televisions, standing alone in a gym, sinking underwater in a swimming pool. We see the boys shaving their hair, which kind of brings back memories of trying to establish your own identity as a teenager, altering your appearance, doing anything to show you belong somewhere else, somewhere other than where you are. I guess it could symbolise a sort of trapped rebellion. The boxing could represent some of the teenage anger when everything seems to be this weird inertia and the desire to create some sort of drama or conflict for yourself-or it could just be a random shot of two guys punching each other. Because didn't you all have that experience of punching a friend in the mouth in your living room, wearing peculiar boxing gear?
Near the end, we see the boys on a subway on a night out with friends, staring out of the windows. It sort of implies that even in the middle of their temporary escape from suburbia, they're fantasizing about what else might be out there, about what might lie ahead if they just finish out their teenage years. The whole video gives off that strange, dreamy vibe of being trapped in suburbia and it kind of encaptures that weird feeling you get as a teenager, that real life is happening elsewhere. It's got a flavour of the Virgin Suicides with a rap-type back beat.
The video ends with a reverse of the same shot that opens the clip-driving through the suburbs but this time travelling further into them rather than away. This could actually serve as a pretty cool reflection of what's happened to Lorde since she became famous-now that she's made her way out of the suburbs, become "bigger than she ever dreamed" she actually wants to return to her roots-the way teenagers who couldn't wait to leave home suddenly want to visit all the time. I guess it's the feeling of being trapped that makes suburbia so unbearable as a teenager, and the last shot could represent the song's anti-materialism vibe-that even though she's world famous, Lorde's still happy to return home to the ordinary suburbs, ignoring the culture that constantly tells her she should want more.
Overall, the video's a cool companion to the song. It enhances it, and gives other interpretations of the song, and it's got a quirky, short-film vibe to it as well. There's a sort of staticness to the plot, and a kind of sterile, drained feeling which could represent the way the world often feels as a teenager-empty and permanently slow and with little point. Directed by Joel Kefali, it's almost an illustration of teenage boredom-and it does a good job of showing that at the end of the day, you will escape the emotional suburbs of the teenage years, and might even change your opinion of them.
Oh, and Lorde's hair's great.