Today, Retro in the 90s introduces a new feature, 90s in the now.
Whilst driving in the car with my elementary and middle school aged children, I was trying to figure out why I like Lorde. Out of all the soulless, overproduced, prefabricated dreck on Top 40 radio that I’ve been forced to endure over the past five years, there are exactly two artists I like; The Black Keys and Lorde. The Black Keys are basically a garage rock band from Ohio with retro sensibilities, so that’s a no-brainer. But, why do I like Lorde? Is it because of her genuine talent and good taste, or her relative talent and taste far exceeding that of her peers? Or is there….. something else?
Then I heard this bit of information regarding The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 (2014).
On July 31, 2014, it was announced that Lorde would provide a single for the film’s soundtrack album and curate the record. The track list for the soundtrack was released on October 21, 2014. Details of the fifth track were confirmed on November 3, 2014.
As the album’s curator, Lorde has recruited Grace Jones, Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon, Diplo, Miguel, The Chemical Brothers, Charli XCX, Stromae, Major Lazer and Ariana Grande to contribute to the official track list. On December 3, 2014, the soundtrack was re-released digitally featuring “The Hanging Tree” by James Newton Howard featuring Jennifer Lawrence, a song originally released on the The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 (Original Motion Picture Score), as the fifteenth song on the album.
A curated soundtrack? Now, why does that sound so familiar?
Oh, yeah. The concept is as intrinsically 90s as Kurt Cobain and Bill Clinton playing Sonic the Hedgehog on Sega Genesis. As I previously stated during my review of Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994),
Soundtracks were a very big deal in the 1990s, as they filled the pop-cultural void between K-Tel and Now That’s What I Call Music! Most of these featured currently popular songs from currently popular artists such as the soundtracks for Singles (1992),The Bodyguard (1992), and even So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993). Others were more conceptual featuring popular artists of one genre covering formerly popular artists of another genre such as The Crow (1994) soundtrack which hit number one on the Billboard charts, or the Judgment Night (1993) soundtrack which forced collaboration between alternative/grunge/metal artists and rappers, often with striking results.
To expand upon the 1990s phenomenon of curated soundtracks, I should also mention the following;
- Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers (1994) – This thematic “collage of sound” was “produced” and “compiled” by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails The album sold over 500,000 copies and went gold.
- Empire Records (1995) – This album was an alternative rock tour de force, scoring Top 40 hits for The Gin Blossoms, Edwyn Collins.
- David Lynch’s Lost Highway (1997) – This was also “produced”, “complied” and otherwise curated by Trent Reznor. The album reached No. 7 on the Billboard charts and also went gold.
- Spawn (1997) – The soundtrack paired metal, nu metal and alternative rock bands together with DJs and electronica producers. The album also reached No. 7 on the Billboard charts.
- The Saint (1997) – This soundtrack was a tasteful blend of electronica, alternative rock and new tracks from 80s new wave magnates Duran Duran and musical super genius David Bowie. Note that Duran Duran also appears on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 (Original Motion Picture Score). This album went on to win the 1998 BMI Film Music Award.
As I processed this information, certain patterns began to appear. Either I enjoy the musical stylings of Lorde because of a Pavlovian response to imprinting that took place twenty-plus years ago, or she’s a time traveler from 1993. I found the second option much more interesting, so we’re gonna go with that one.
Note: the following testimony is much more powerful and entertaining if read with the Southern baritone voice of former United States Senator and Law & Order alumnus Fred Thompson.
Lorde is a Time Traveler from 1993
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, it is my thesis that the recent Top 40 recording sensation known as “Lorde” is not really a eighteen year old from New Zealand. No, she’s nothing of the sort. I will present enough evidence today to convince you that the pop star masquerading as Lorde is really a time traveler from the year 1993.
Let us begin with what is commonly referred to as “the eyeball test”. If my assertion doesn’t pass the eyeball test, then why continue?
This is a picture of Lorde.
- I ask you to note the following.
- the cascading mane of soft, fluffy curls that are ever so slightly out of control
- the large and widely spaced eyes
- the natural hair color
- the eyebrows that look like they’d actually occur in nature
- the full lips
- the delicate jaw line
This is a random sample of Lorde’s peers in 2014.
From left to right, Lady Gaga, Iggy Azalea, Nicki Minaj, and Miley Cyrus.
They were all pop stars in 2014.
I ask you to note the following
- stick straight and perfectly controlled blonde tresses
- the small and narrowly spaced eyes
- all these women have the exact same unnatural hair color
- at least two of them are wearing wigs
- none of them are natural platinum blondes
- all of their eyebrows appear to have been embossed by a laser-wielding drag queen
- even the pop star of African descent has thinner lips than the average for her demographic
- if Miley doesn’t stop taking HGH to keep herself skinny, she’s going to develop a full blown manjaw
Now, back in 1993 there were not only pop stars, but also rock stars, movie stars and TV stars. Their worlds simply did not overlap as they do today. Thus, I’ve assembled below a random sample of Lorde’s peers circa 1993 as adjusted for pop cultural media crossover in much the same way an economist would adjust for inflation.
From left to right, Keri Russel aka TV’s Felicity, Madchen Amick of Twin Peaks fame, Noxema dream girl Rebecca Gayheart, and White Zombie’s Sean Yseult.
If you were forced to put Lorde into one of these two groups, Exhibit B or Exhibit C, which would you choose?
Before you answer, I’m not privy to such information, but I have it on good authority that in 2001 every White woman under the age of 30 got a memo from Janet Reno’s Justice Department mandating that natural hair color was explicitly forbidden, hair must be straightened daily, and a mandatory four hours a week were required for eyebrow plucking. Failure to meet the specified requirements would result in federal investigation, jurisprudence and quite possibly incarceration. I would like to produce evidence of said memo, but according to legend they all self-destructed after reading.
I certainly didn’t agree with the edict, but I didn’t come here do debate its merit or lack thereof. I only want to ask you this. If you were forced to put Lorde into one of these two groups, Exhibit B or Exhibit C, which would you choose? And remember you ARE under oath.
That’s what I thought.
Since I’ve totally murdered the eyeball test, let’s move on.
This is a picture of Lorde at a recent awards show wearing a choker necklace.
You know who wears choker necklaces in 2014?
You know who wore choker necklaces in the 1993?
The entire female cast of Beverly Hills 90210.
Here’s another recent picture of Lorde making a public appearance wearing chunky Doc Marten’s-looking shoes with her socks scrunched down.
Let me repeat that for those of you in the back of the jury box, SHE HAS HER SOCKS! SCRUNCHED! DOWN!
NOBODY WHO WASN’T A TIME TRAVELER FROM 1993 WOULD PURPOSELY SCRUNCH HER SOCKS DOWN AROUND HER ANKLES! THAT SORT OF THING JUST ISN’T DONE IN 2014!!!!!
I could easily rest my case here, but let us continue if only for the sake of due diligence.
The lyrics to Lorde’s first Top 40 hit “Royals”
But every song’s like gold teeth, grey goose, trippin’ in the bathroom
Blood stains, ball gowns, trashin’ the hotel room,
We don’t care, we’re driving Cadillacs in our dreams
But everybody’s like Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your timepiece
Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash
We don’t care, we aren’t caught up in your love affair
The lyrics to Lorde’s second Top 40 hit “Team”
I’m kind of over gettin’ told to throw my hands up in the air
Obviously these lyrics are criticizing the inanity and conspicuous consumption that permeate modern hip-hop culture. I’m certainly not the first to notice this. Andy Nowicki of Alternative Right has written two fine articles here and here. However, White girls in 2014 would never criticize hip-hop culture! They’re expected to just smile and twerk. But, back in the early 90s….
This is the video for “Kool Thing” by Sonic Youth. The song was inspired by an interview bassist/singer Kim Gordon conducted with LL Cool J for SPIN in which the two artists clashed over allegedly misogynistic comments. Not only could White girls make comments critical of hip-hop culture back in the early 90s, they could write songs about it…. then make a video…. that MTV would play…. at least on 120 Minutes!
In conclusion, the implications for our society coming to terms with the fact that time travel has already been perfected are indeed staggering. But I ask you to refrain from pondering those implications for now, and simply review the available evidence which I have presented to you today. Is Lorde a time traveler from 1993? Using Occam’s Razor…. hell, Occam’s Butterknife should suffice….. choose the simplest explanation. The obvious and irrefutable conclusion is that Lorde is indeed a time traveler from 1993. There is simply no other way to explain her.