EVERY generation demands an earnestly sincere female singer-songwriter wrapped in vaguely eccentric, yet commercially palatable, colours. Today’s pop kids have Lorde, who fulfils her brief with consummate professionalism.
Academy, Glasgow **
A 20-year-old New Zealander, Lorde came to prominence at the age of 16 when she scored a US number-one single with Royals. Since then she’s amassed a worldwide throng of devoted fans, hence this rapturously received sold-out gig.
I’m not her target audience, clearly, but even with a wide-open mind I observed my surroundings with mild bafflement. Lorde’s fashionably ‘80s-tinged dream pop is entirely inoffensive and rather dull.
Most of her songs sound like Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill – a recording of which heralded her arrival on stage – without the hooks and emotional heft. But the crowd responded to her middling, competent oeuvre as though Kate herself had descended from upon high to anoint each and every one of them personally.
Understandably thrilled, Lorde thanked them repeatedly and profusely. A decent, if unremarkable, singer, she shook her mane, dropped to her knees and bared her newly adult soul.
Backed by a percussionist and keyboardist/sampler, she was occasionally joined by two female dancers wearing bin bag pantaloons. Endearingly pretentious video clips covered the segues between demure costume changes. A cover of Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight – to which she owes a sonic debt – felt inevitable.
It was a slick, unexciting show. Yet still the crowd went wild. It was as if they wanted – needed? – Lorde to be better than she is.