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Pop’s craze for luxury consumption reaches an apogee on Britney Spears’ ridiculous new single, in which Brit robotically demands her listeners work hard to get the sort of lifestyle that the FT’s pop critic takes for granted – a “hot body”, a Bugati, partying in France etc. But here comes the backlash, from the unlikely source of a 16-year-old New Zealander.
Pure Heroine expands Lorde’s critique of turbo-materialism unveiled on her hit single “Royals”, in which the singer (real name Ella Yelich-O’Connor) dismisses visions of “Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your timepiece” with languid poise over a slow, washed-out beat. She sounds uncannily like Lana del Rey while disdaining del Rey’s moneyed world of glamour: “That kind of luxe just ain’t for us, we crave a different kind of buzz.” The jaded act can get a bit much over the duration of an album (“I’m kind of over getting told to throw my hands up in the air,” she sighs), but lines like “We’re hollow like the bottles we drain” show a talent in advance of her years.