Great Sounds Great; Bad Sounds Bad is a column which sees a panel of writers for The Corner review a range of local singles and grade them out of 10. Check out the song below, read through their opinions and let us know in the comments section your own thoughts and what you’d like us to review next time around.
Joe Nunweek: So this has gone pretty huge while staying enigmatic – a mysterious Soundcloud, little in the way of a bio, one elaborate illustration, and some hard repping from what seems to be a few influential people in high places. However this unfurls is anyone’s guess, but it’s a pretty subtle campaign, made more satisfying by how good this is. Like Lips, she knows how to hem in the dynamics – there’s a snap-crack minimalism going on which rightly bets on her vocal charisma, a restrained verite coolness rather than hitting the switch on big instrumental signifiers of emotion and drama (cf: Lana Del Rey and the Sky Ferreira stuff that isn’t ‘Everything Is Embarrassing’). Getting into trainspotting, my favourite part here is the “But-every-song-is-like gold teeth-grey-goose-drippin’-in-the bathroom” strut before the chorus, but everything hangs together.
I just wanna say that the lyrical conceit is pretty marvelous too – it’s a song for everyone who’s ever been young, ordinary and in love with decadent modern pop music, the dissonance of lapping up obscene depictions of wealth or largesse while counting your last coins on the 221 from Avondale to town. Like Parallel Dance Ensemble, it’s a canny universal sentiment with the added bonus of being able to look out your window as you listen and say “Yeah, that’s happening here.” Also like PDE, this is fucking great. 
Stephen Clover: From out of nowhere — who actually is this vaguely anonymous Lorde? Anyway, I’m enchanted by the simple-funk-icity here; it’s cute, it’s clever and smoove as hell. ‘Royals’ is basically just completely dope and I hope it goes huge for Lorde. 
Luke Jacobs: This song felt like 6 minutes 20 and not 3 minutes 10. It just never seemed to move right and did very little to hook me in and make want to get into it. I think the biggest part of that was not the vocals, the lyrics or the inflection of either. It was the production which felt bog standard and quite vanilla. That made it hard to want to get into the drama of the song. It felt hard to get excited about the way the song moved because the way it was structured never made it feel like there was anything at stake, so to speak. It had potential to become something. I reckon a remix of the song could bring out that magic. 
Maddie Collier: Lorde sounds exactly like someone I can’t quite put my finger on; Robyn or Grimes or that sort of flavour. She describes herself on her various pages as “a fury, a dilemma”, which I misread at first as “I’m a furry; a dilemma”. ‘Royals’ has a smooth, languid pace and snug production, but easily the best thing about it is the charming proletariat-chic narrative. It’s a punchy rejection of all things swag: “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”. She’s defiant and contradictory and defensive, pluckily regaling scenes where she’s counting coins on the train to a party with her friends one minute then asking us to subsume to her queen bee reign the next; qualities which seem to cross over to her real-life persona where you can find her wondering publicly if her short fingernails disqualify her from the twittersphere while she plugs her fresh EP by tweet. I think I like it. 
George Johnston: I really want to make comparisons to Kimbra and Fever Ray meets The Naked and Famous but I honestly think that would be doing her a diservice. This is a super slick single, one of those songs that’s quite incredible when you realise that it came from here. Really looking forward to hearing more. 
Lauren Clark: I’m really floored. This is – dead serious – perfect. I went a little nuts listening to this – just a bit of “is this really happening?” and swearing at my computer – especially once I found out that she’s sixteen, which just makes me feel oddly emotional. So I had to scrap my raving and wait until I’d calmed down in order to submit something that resembled some kind of review… I’m struggling to recall anything I have listened to recently that has made me so ecstatic. But there’s something about it that has some weight, something intelligent, maybe, that makes it feel not like a throwaway song you’ll play all day and then forget the next. She clearly has a savant-like musical ear, and you can tell by the strength of her voice (literally and figuratively) that she knows it. Which is perfectly fine, because she has the skill to back it up. And the lyrics, in addition to having a maturity behind them (for a sixteen year old), actually make thematic sense the whole way through, which is rare in pop these days. Pretty sure this will go viral, and I am totally falling for it. I think we’ll see great things from Lorde (whoever she is. Sixteen! What the fuck).