"Royals" (CD Single)

Music review by
Grace Montgomery, Common Sense Media
"Royals" (CD Single) Music Poster Image
Young pop star rejects the lux life in minimalist single.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 10 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

The song rejects the usual stereotypes of celebrities, saying "we aren't caught up in your love affair" about material things. Lorde represents regular kids showing "that kind of lux just ain't for us."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lorde, though new to the music scene, is proving to be an anti-glam role model. Her image so far has been carefully orchestrated, with only a few photos of her available, all missing the skimpy outfits and glitz you usually see in young pop stars. Her stage name, Lorde, is a play on the English title, and her publicity shots show her posing similarly to old portraits of royalty, but with a modern twist. She shows that regular people are the new royalty.

Violence

One line of the chorus says "Blood stains, ball gowns, trashin' the hotel room" but it's suggesting that Lorde rejects that kind of celeb culture. Both versions of the video (which are very similar but are edited slightly differently) show two teens practicing boxing. In the U.S. version, one of the boys gets hit in the face and his mouth starts bleeding. In the other, he looks at himself in the mirror with blood dripping down his chin then spits blood on the mirror. He also flicks open a pocket knife at the start of the video, but the knife is never shown again.

Sex

Both versions of the video show two boys without shirts on and one of them sitting up in bed, but it's not sexual in any way. 

Language
Consumerism

The hook drops a lot of luxury brand names like Grey Goose, Cadillac, and Maybach, but it's in reference to what every other song these days talks about. Lorde says she and the kids she represents "don't care. {They're} not caught up in your love affair" with brands.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The hook references Grey Goose, which is an expensive brand of vodka, and "trippin' in the bathroom." The video also shows one of the boys light a lighter, but you can't see a cigarette and it doesn't show any smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lorde, a young singer from New Zealand, is the antithesis of your usual young pop star. Her single "Royals" from her upcoming album Pure Heroine shows her and her friends rejecting the party lifestyle, saying "That kind of lux just ain't for us / We crave a different kind of buzz." The video, which has two slightly different versions, shows two teen boys practicing boxing and living a regular but decidedly gritty and unromantic life hanging out with friends and taking the train. With a positive anti-consumerist message, no iffy language or sex, and only minor references to alcohol and violence, this track is OK for older tweens and up.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJulia from Sweden November 15, 2013

Good hipster song

Not auto-tuned as far as I can hear, but maybe I'm deaf to effects by now...
Teen, 16 years old Written byrebma97 August 21, 2013

Cool Song From New Zealand Singer

This is a pretty cool song; I like how it sounds a bit different from standard pop. It also has positive messages about rejecting the racy image many celebritie... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old November 5, 2013

Everyone at school sings this at one point.

I don't really like this song that much, I just found it boring. My classmates keep singing this and it gets on my nerves. There isn't anything iffy,... Continue reading

What's the story?

New Zealand teen Lorde has just broken into the U.S. pop scene with her mesmerizing single \"ROYALS.\" The song and video show regular working-class teens who proudly claim \"we'll never be royals / It don't run in our blood.\" Rejecting the usual trappings of fame, Lorde proudly sings \"My friends and I, we've cracked the code / We count our dollars on the train to the party / And everyone who knows us knows that we're fine with this / We didn't come from money.\" The song is the perfect anthem for the anti-pop star.

Is it any good?

Lorde keeps "Royals" simple and the focus on her powerhouse voice, with only a spare drumbeat and finger snaps accompanying her layered harmonies. The flow of the lyrics and her voice drive the beat, skipping over the list of rejected brands and soaring over the "We'll never be royals" chorus. The song is addictive; try not to listen to it over and over again. It's a promising start to what's sure to be an amazing career for Lorde.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Lorde's image. Why do you think she chooses to use so many references to traditional royalty?

  • Do you think Lorde is a more positive role model than other pop stars her age?

Music details

  • Artist: Lorde
  • Release date: August 5, 2013
  • Type: Single
  • Label: Lava
  • Genre: Pop
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No

For kids who love pop music

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