Issue #788 (July, 2017) is out today, available via the usual stockists and our online store.
Our cover-story interview is on New Zealand singer-songwriter, Lorde, as she prepares for the release of Melodrama, the highly anticipated follow-up to her debut, Pure Heroine.
Pure Heroine was released in the spring of 2013, and sold more than a million copies in five months. David Bowie clutched her hand and told her that listening to her music "felt like listening to tomorrow”. Lady Gaga called it one of "THE albums of 2013”. It wasn't just the album's precocious musicality (its spare electronic beats overlaid with Lorde's smoky, syncopated vocals, creating a sound that was part pop, part hip-hop, part jazz and entirely hypnotic); it was also the teenage authority with which Lorde's lyrics took on and then casually dispensed with decades of pop-music tropes and stereotypes ("Everybody's like, Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your timepiece.... We don't care”). The album was so self-possessed, so in control, so knowing, that, fairly or not, Lorde was hailed far and wide as pop's antidote to its own artifice. She was not stage-managed. She dressed like a witch run amok in Goodwill. She wielded influence far beyond her years. She was, in other words, "the real deal” – the counterargument to the prefab, formula-driven model many listeners assumed was almost de rigueur for young women breaking into the profession. At one point in our conversation, she refers to the 2014 Grammys, during which she took home both Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance for "Royals”, as "my Grammys”, then catches herself: "I mean it was my Grammy week, not that I owned the Grammys.” But in a way, she kind of did.
There's also a commemorative 30-page feature on the 50 greatest concerts of the past 50 years, including memorable sets from Hendrix, Presley, Zeppelin, Dylan, Kanye, Swift, Bowie, the Stones, the Ramones, the Boss and, of course, Cold Chisel.
We also spend time with Tina Arena, the latest Living Legend subject, with the singer talking sexuality, celebrity culture and how she finally shook off the ghost of Tiny Tina from Young Talent Time.
Tina Arena, to Barry Divola:
"I wasn't able to enjoy my success at the time. I started enjoying the musical aspect of my life when I started going to France in the late Nineties and moving there. I was finally free of Tiny Tina, Young Talent Time and preconceived thoughts. France was just a gift. It gave me this blank canvas to paint on. The song from The Mask Of Zorro, where I got to work with Jim Steinman and the beautiful, late James Horner, was a gift too and then that opened all these doors and before you knew it I'd become the variety TV queen of France."
In addition, the issue features interviews with Bliss n Eso, John Mellencamp, Valerie June, Pete Murray, alt-J, Bernard Fanning, Sheryl Crow and Little Steven, plus Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore runs us through the songs that defined his life, and Aussie alt-rockers Grinspoon celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut, Guide to Better Living, with a tour of favourite moments from their back catalogue.
View a digital preview of the issue below: