"Royals" dropped for free via SoundCloud more than a year ago, but Lorde isn't going gently into this not-so-dark night that is end-of-year lists and Grammy nominations. On Friday (December 13), she dropped a summery new track, as 2013 gives one last dying gasp, called "No Better."
The release came as a surprise to many fans, as Lorde had indicated via Instagram this week that she was hibernating until 2014.
This jam continues a lot of the themes on her Pure Heroine debut: realistic, warts-and-all depictions of teens (her dude's breath is "gross" but she kisses him "like a lover"); lazy, far-reaching days ("I forget the knowledge from the lessons that I went to"); and an underlying reminder of mortality (one of the lyrics appears to be, "We're getting dead and it's the right way").
The 17-year-old New Zealander has had quite the year, penning — undoubtedly — the biggest single of 2013, scoring her share of Grammy nominations and becoming some kind of shining deus ex machina to pop fans around the world. By releasing this track, however, Lorde is saying — in a sense — that 2013 wasn't the only year of the Lorde in our futures.
So maybe we had better get used to "bowing down" to another queen bee.