Lorde’s Black-Fingered Grammy Performance: What Does It Mean?

We take a crack at decoding her 'Royals' wardrobe.

I knew Lorde would go dark for her performance during the 56th Grammy Awards, but I didn’t know she’d go quite so black — Black Death that is.

During her performance of her hit song “Royals,” the 17-year-old singer sported black-tipped fingers, which are one of the symptoms of the European pandemic known as the Black Death, or the Black Plague.

Lorde kicked off the Grammys — after a titillating performance from Jay Z and Beyonce — with the sparest, most stripped-down rendition of “Royals” we’ve seen yet.

She wore simple black and white, and performed in front of a flickering backdrop featuring a collection of stone angels that would make Dr. Who himself shiver.

The most noteworthy part of her getup, however, were her black fingertips, which were a common symptom of the medieval disease back in the day — one that still occurs in patients nowadays as well.

We’re not sure what story Lorde was telling with the dark imagery that accompanied her anti-consumerist jam, but something about it recalls the Ingmar Bergman-directed film “The Seventh Seal,” which tells the tale of a medieval knight and his chess game with the Grim Reaper — a game that takes place during an outbreak of The Black Death.

>> See Miley Photobomb Lorde

It would be no surprise if this flick were the inspiration for Lorde’s on-stage stint, as she has been steadily sharing macabre photos leading up to the Grammys related to the performance — from Siberian bear hunting suits to snaps of goth-y role model Anjelica Huston.

What do you think? Was Lorde getting down with Bergman this Grammys or no?

Stick with us for up-to-the-minute info on the Grammys from our Grammys Red Carpet live stream, full fashion coverage, performance highlights and the complete Grammy winners list.
Brenna Ehrlich is a reporter for MTV News as well as the senior writer/editor for the O Music Awards. In the past, she served as associate editor at Mashable, penned a netiquette column for CNN and co-authored the blog and book "Stuff Hipsters Hate." She likes trying not to die in moshpits and listening to songs on repeat. Follow her on Twitter for news on cats and punk bands.