Women in Rock: An Ode to Lorde

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By Melissa Gauger 

It is no secret that making it as a woman in the music industry is incredibly difficult.  Despite successful women such as Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, achieving this level of success is uncommon and strenuous: only six females have ever been nominated for a Brit or a Grammy award as best producer; and, many women face sexual harassment or various forms of sexism. Moreover, on festival lineups, a woman artist is often hidden among a slew of male-fronted and male-comprised musicians.

For every ten average successful male musicians, we have one overtly talented and inspirational female artist.  And for every thousand acts that we see in a generation, we have one that sticks with us forever - and I believe this generation has been given Lorde.

There is a reason David Bowie said listening to Lorde is, "like listening to tomorrow."  Lorde touches the hearts of young women everywhere: she writes heartfelt, stunningly poetic lyrics that perfectly describe what adolescents everywhere seem to be experiencing. She is confident in herself and in her abilities, and she explores new territory and somehow creates gold from everything she touches. Lorde has an extremely solid sense of self, as she knows who she is and what she stands for.

Her debut, Pure Heroine, was released in 2013, when I was a freshman in high school. At the time, Lorde was sixteen herself. As the record discussed growing old ("Ribs") and teenage angst ("400 Lux,") I found myself living through these same experiences.  When Lorde admitted, "It feels so scary getting old," I understood exactly what she meant. I listened to these songs in my dark bedroom as I questioned my future, my friendships, and my emotions.  The album gave me a guiding hand and support as I navigated my overtly confusing and strange teenage years.  And as she flourished into a young woman, so did I.

While Pure Heroine expresses adolescence, her second album Melodrama, released in June 2017, explores the trials and tribulations of adulthood, heartbreak, and the transition into womanhood.  Lorde gives us an insight into her own self development and experience with a failed relationship. Few albums have ever been this brutally honest about being eighteen, nineteen, or twenty, and few artists have ever given young women such a strong and powerful voice. In essence, the music validates the experiences of a young, emotional woman.

Lorde may be one of few young female musicians, but she represents much more than just an overnight success.  She represents females everywhere - heartbroken, out-of-the-box, scrutinized by their male peers. She provides a beacon of light for girls like me to look up to, an example of a self-assured, down-to-earth woman who can both rise above female struggle and work to dismantle it.

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