Lorde Is Feuding With A Magazine, And For Once You’ll Actually Agree With Them

Lorde GIF lights going out(via)

I guess this is the moment when I finally disagree with Lorde. I always wondered what it would feel like, and now it’s here. (Kind of tingly, in case you were wondering.)

Over the weekend, Lorde put up a post on her Tumblr complaining about how music magazines like Complex and Pitchfork slam your album one week, and then just a week later they’re up your ass again, begging for an interview like that never happened. Here’s the text of her post, with the image she included:

Iggy Azalea collage from Lorde's TumblrIggy Azalea collage from Lorde's Tumblr 2

“bugs me how publications like complex will profile interesting artists in order to sell copies/get clicks and then shit on their records? it happens to me all the time- pitchfork and that ilk being like “can we interview you?” after totally taking the piss out of me in a review. have a stance on an artist and stick to it. don’t act like you respect them then throw them under the bus.”

I’ll be honest, my immediate inclination is to hop on board with anything and everything Lorde says (just like Iggy Azalea did when she tweeted back at her, calling Complex ‘spineless’), because Lorde’s proven herself to be much wiser than I. Howeverrrr when you really give this some thought, it doesn’t pan out. You’re asking a music magazine for one of two things, and neither one works out very well for either of you. You either want them to…

  1. Write exclusively positive things about you just because you have a good relationship with them, give them interviews, etc.
  2. Immediately stop writing about you as soon as you do one thing they don’t like or create one piece of music they aren’t as fond of.

But the thing is, that’s not how you run a magazine! And even if it was, is that really what you want? Wouldn’t you rather have the publicity and an honest, unbiased perspective on your career? Isn’t that kind of the best of both worlds?

It’s a point that Complex themselves elucidated much more clearly and eloquently than I ever could in their response to Lorde’s post, published later that same day.

“Contrary to whatever Lorde may think, for Complex to give a cover to an artist like Iggy Azalea or current covergirl Jhené Aiko (or even Lorde for that matter) it simply boils down to Complex thinking the artist is someone our audience is interested in. Giving someone a bad review basically boils down to thinking someone our audience is interested in didn’t make a very good record.”

Their bottom line is what their audience wants to read, and the only real reflector of their success at that is whether people are still purchasing their magazines.

“Lorde declaring “have a stance on an artist and stick to it” is a bizarre notion for an organization like Complex, which is to say bizarre for any media organization that claims to have any journalistic integrity. No one should stick to their opinion when new facts (possibly in the form of new music) are made available that can alter your views. Art and artistry are fluid things.”

Yup! Things change constantly! Ever wonder why were aren’t still applauding Oscar Pistorius for being the first Paralympics contender to make it to the trials for the actual Olympics? Because we got some new information. That’s a way more intense example, but it fits.

“If Complex—or the media at large—operated the way Lorde wished, it would do away with journalistic integrity all together. [...] Truth is, not every media interaction will be mutually beneficial. [...]

Yup. They have a responsibility to their readers, not to the artists they’re profiling.

“Celebrities seek attention and media coverage every time they do something great, why would the camera stop rolling when they do something not so great? And even if they do, it isn’t meant to be disrespectful—it’s meant to be critical.”

And whether she realizes it or not, Lorde brought up a really important issue, and one that actually endangers the future of music review and critique.

“This issue Lorde highlights is an on-going problem in music writing, one where artists seem to think of journalists as akin to their publicists, and journalists are afraid to say anything bad about an artist for fear of losing access. An artist thinking that just because they’re interviewed by an outlet that said outlet can’t then “shit on your records” muddies the difference between music profiling and music criticism. The job of a journalist profiling an interesting artist is to bring their story to life for an audience. The job of a music critic writing a review is to put an album in the proper context for listeners and, yes, share their opinion on the album.”

So let’s everybody just do our jobs, yes? And everything will be fine. And Lorde, in case you’ve forgotten — yours isn’t starting beefs with anyone who passes through your peripheral vision, okay? As tempting as I’m sure that must be.

Share This Post:
    • Kaitlin Reilly

      I love Lorde, but Complex is right here, 100%.

      • Erin

        Totally agree

    • Olivia Wilson

      Sheeesh, Lorde! It’s a review of the work, not of Iggy. I’m sure Complex thinks she’s lovely (or great for sales, I guess) due to the fact that they featured her on a cover, but that particular reviewer just didn’t like that particular album.

    • Elizabeth Aspen

      I like her attitude a lot, but I don’t get her musically. I checked out her Lollapalooza set on you tube just to see what the hype was all about, and it was just weird. She’s spastic and her songs make no sense. Very uncomfortable to watch. But whatever, she does and says all the right things and I’ll take her over Beyonce or Rihanna any day.

    • M_G

      I don’t really like Lorde. First of all, her music, in my opinion, is VASTLY overrated. I don’t think it’s bad, but I don’t think it’s as good as everyone else seems to (but again, that’s my own opinion). As for Lorde as a person, my feelings are even more negative. She gives off this vibe of superiority that I feel is unjustified for anyone to have, least of all a 17-year-old. At first, I thought it was her showing how confident and comfortable she was with herself and I thought that was great. But now, EVERY TIME I read her commentary about life, feminism, other artists, etc., I just groan.

      • Mystik Spiral

        Totally agree with you about everything.

    • me

      …so if someone once “had a stance” on J. Bieber, they should stick to it?

    • Isabelle

      I think what she is saying is if they don’t like their work, they shouldnt use them to sell magazines

      • Mystik Spiral

        What if they like *some* of the artist’s work? Do they need to steer clear of an artist who puts out what they feel is a bad album until there’s another new album they like better? What’s the appropriate length of time to pass before asking an artist for an interview after you pan an album they put out?

        I hate to use sports analogies, but what if Sports Illustrated or ESPN only interviewed players who’ve never dropped a pass, or thrown an interception, or struck out, etc. It doesn’t make any sense.

      • Isabelle

        I don’t think the sports analogy really works. You can drop a ball etc in a second. Artists spend months creating albums and companies make a lot of money off them as a result.

      • Zero Tollrants

        She’s a child, and there’s a difference between being precocious and opinionated, and being wise and offering a good stance that has critical basis coming from a place of experienced history. This whole tongue-bathing of celebrities, this never-ending constraints of language because it might, “hurt feelings, bully, boss,” etc., is preventing honesty and in the future, helps exactly no one improve, grow, or learn to correct mistakes. She’s living the dream based off of the synergy of fair amount of talent/filling the odd girl quota in the biz, which far more talented have found to be quite fleeting. Perhaps some gratitude would extend that time frame….

      • Isabelle

        To be honest I don’t think your post really makes all that much sense. I don’t think theres anything wrong or a huge difference between being precocious, opinionated, wise etc. I’m guessing the first two are supposed to be an insult to her? She’s is 17, in the UK she would have already graduated high school and would be in her first year of college, no? That’s a child to you? I think regardless of culture people need to decide if 17 is a child or almost adult. They are whatever they need to be whenever someone need to make a point.

    • l

      Just going to rip the band-aid right off and say it; I’m fucking sick of Lorde. I enjoy her music, but otherwise she comes off as a smug little brat. She’s 17; she might be precocious, but she still pretty much knows shit about shit at this point in her life, and her habit of saying negative things about anyone/anything that she disagrees with smells more like teenaged know it all syndrome than any real profound insight. Stop having “beef” with people, stop calling other musicians names, and maybe focus on getting past the “made one great album and faded into obscurity” stage while finishing puberty, and maybe in 10 years if you’re still around, someone might take your opinions on things seriously.

      • Isabelle

        I think that any person having the courage to speak out against things they feel hurt others, should be encouraged to do so. I find it strange people calling her names because she’s outspoken. Inferiority complex

    • Vera

      It’s like she just wakes up and “tries to think up as many as six critical things to say before breakfast”.
      Lately she’s shooting bullets at random to see if any hits a target and turns into twitter acclaim. Not really working out for her.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Exactly. Well said.

    • SherrieKesler

      What Lorde feuding with the Magazine ?

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