New Criticals

The song is pretty short, so the music video does a better job of framing the suburban setting and focus on mundane routine contrast most starkly with the chorus – ironically or earnestly, you decide, though maybe it doesn’t matter much – so it transforms the song into a more thoughtful look on domestic, residential adolescent malaise and boredom. You probably didn’t grow up in a small town if you've never boxed your friends in their parents' basement, or knew people who did.

Bemoaning celebrity culture with a television tuned not to Access Hollywood or some show with unnecessary punctuation but to the unwanted static margins, “Royals” wants to push back against mass cultural deliverables. It does that in the form of mass cultural deliverables: pop music! Being from New Zealand, Lorde has an experience of the American cultural production that we as Americans cannot have. We participate with it and are embedded in it. She receives it as an import.