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Released: 2013

In the song “Team”, Lorde delivers an authentic and gritty take on youth culture, shunning the glossy, superficial image often projected in popular media. The song paints the unabashed reality of young, shared experiences, with a special focus on the gritty version of society that is often overlooked in pop culture.

The recurring phrase “send the call out” sets the stage, asserting an aura of defiance and a sense of rallying. Lorde calls upon the ladies draped in “finery,” a hundred jewels on throats, and boys with “skin in craters like the moon.” It’s a motley crew, so to speak, reflective of the glam and grunge that often co-exists in youth culture. Lorde laments the lies we tell and how, even in a state of comatose, innocence isn’t spared. She illustrates a world where secrets are kept close, and the narratives are twisted.

Yet amidst this raw portrayal, there’s an alliance, a team. This unity is birthed out of shared experiences, lived in cities unseen on-screen – a nod to the ‘invisible’ parts of society often excluded from the media narrative. It’s not very pretty; it’s real, scrappy, even in ruins, but holds its own charm. Lorde hints at a sense of defiance and resilience in how they know how to “run things”. This isn’t the dreamy palace, but the ruins of it within her dreams.

The chorus echoes a common sentiment among young people who are “over getting told to throw their hands up in the air,” an expression often associated with surrender or lack of control. The singer makes it clear that they no longer wish to conform to these expectations. “So there,” is a small yet potent phrase, brimming with rebellion, mirroring a refusal to play by the rules laid out by others.

Within the lyrics “So all the cups got broke, shards beneath our feet”, Lorde exhibits a certain recklessness, but simultaneously defends this behaviour by saying “it wasn’t my fault”. The song closes with a bleak view of love’s competition and a desire for release. It’s relentless yet oddly hopeful. Lorde’s “team” is made up of these individuals living on the fringes, owning their narrative, their struggles and their triumphs.

As the song progresses, there’s an acknowledgement of growing older, yet the bonds remain. The final lines “We’re on each other’s team” reaffirm this unity, reflecting a collective strength drawn from shared experiences and similar struggles. The repetitive “you know” echoes the intimacy and understanding among the team members, and their acceptance of each other’s reality.

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