Catchy, vibrant, and irrepressible, “Royals” has become one of the sneaky hits of the summer. 16-year-old New Zealander Lorde released The Love Club EP earlier in the year, and this track the centerpiece. Signed as a 12-year-old, somehow “Royals” reaches a depth of societal reflection far beyond her years. The song pokes fun at the rampant love of luxuries and status symbols in modern pop culture. Coyly teasing from the sidelines, she pokes fun at the double standards of those who “show off” the Maybachs and Cristal they could never afford. All, of course, for the sake of looking cool.
Leave it to the Weeknd to kick it up a notch. Massive reverb syncs with Tesfaye’s additional vocals, taking the loungey vibe up to a snazzier, seductive level. The track escalates from the reflective roots into a echo filled banger, constantly looking back at itself. All of a sudden the music does more than complement the song. The echoes and croons create a delightful excess of musicality, revealing the budding evolution of a young singer.