New Criticals

“Royals” Isn’t Racist And That’s The Problem

Thus racial coding has not so much disappeared in recent years, but rather simply migrated into the realm of dress rehersal, the realm of ideal, the realm of pure simulation, and as simulation it remains absolutely necessary...[it] must always pass into fantasy before it can ever return to the real. - Alexander Galloway

Lorde’s “Royals” has spent 4 straight weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts – whatever the fuck that means – and claims the longest stretch at No. 1 by a female artist this year, though she’s going to have to fend off Katy Perry who just released her unfortunately titled album Prism this week. Lorde is 16-year-old singer/songwriter from New Zealand in the indie-pop vein.

Lorde addresses “Royals,” ostensibly, at the regular people – “And we’ll never be royals / it don’t run in our blood.” The new aristocracy is not much different than that of old – money is still passed down generationally (though some of it is “new”) and power follows. Circles of wealth of and influence are just as tight (and stay that way) as ever. One look at a hedge fund/government/big firm/whatever will spit out, most likely, a small number of Ivy League schools where lineage is the rule of the day. This is not the life for most.