Remember back in 1997 when Fiona Apple made her iconic speech at the MTV Video Music Awards, declaring the world of music and celebrity that MTV so deified as "bullshit," effectively echoing the sentiments of thousands of bitter and disillusioned kids of the 90s? At tonight's Grammy Awards, many folks were expecting the same of Lorde during one of her several acceptance speeches. I mean, the two women have lots in common: they're both counterculture icons, speaking and addressing the world in a tone far different from the "love up above" monotony of pop music. But just because they share the radical ideal of being their own people doesn't mean they're going to be...the same people.
Strong, fearless women both, Lorde and Apple feel no shame in holding opinions that stray from the norm, or make you uncomfortable with their startling honesty. "This world is bullshit," Apple declared — nary a far cry from the sentiment behind never being royals and not falling for the material excess that Lorde sung about in her award-winning tune. "And you shouldn't model your life — wait a second — you shouldn't model your life about what you think that we think is cool and what we're wearing and what we're saying and everything. Go with yourself. Go with yourself." Being yourself is the epitome of Lorde's MO, but the 17-year-old didn't deliver such a takedown, disappointing some people out there who've propped her up as the harbinger of the cool, confident, and self-aware modern teen.
But why are we surprised? Apple has always been outspoken, whereas Lorde's style is much more low-key. Why did we expect so much from Lorde, or expect her to mimic something that someone else has already done and said when all she's ever proclaimed to be is herself. Namely, a singer, a performer, a musician and a kid still taking it all in. Tonight we saw no worldwide declarations of bullshit, no groundbreaking admonishing of the establishment, not even an outburst or even a teenage-appropriate giggle, but there's still time: Apple was 20 when she made the comments, three whole years for Lorde to transform herself from a real teen person to a pariah.