"Royals" (CD Single)

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

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 11 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

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.


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.


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. 


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, 13 years old Written byMerveille February 17, 2021


Kid, 11 years old July 28, 2015

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
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate