Is Lorde's 'Team' Video Utopian or Apocalyptic?

Watch Lorde's new 'Team' video, in which she rules a city of young people who joust on motorcycles.
By Elliott Sharp

We just named Lorde one of the 20 Breakthrough Artists of 2013. The 17-year-old New Zealander released her debut album, 'Pure Heroine,' this year, and it has been impossible to escape her big hit 'Royals.' She played Ellen. She played Letterman. She played a Sheryl Crow song on VH1 with Haim. She ate at Shake Shack with Taylor Swift. And, in her new video for 'Team,' she runs a city.

The vid reminds me of the 2006 dystopian sci-fi movie 'Children of Men,' which ends with a scene of Clive Owen dying as a mysterious ship called "Tomorrow" approaches to pick up the youngest person on Earth and take her to safety because the world as they know it appears to be ending. (If that sounds confusing, sorry. Watch the movie or read the P.D. James book it was based on.)

The video begins with Lorde arriving via boat to some desolate, bombed-out island mini-city. She is wearing a comfortable looking, flowing white one-piece dress and her hair is braided and she is clearly the boss of a bunch of young people who chill in a tropical situation sharing a jug of what looks like water. Maybe the world has ended and these are the survivors. Or maybe the world is just fine and Lorde's #TEAM have found a cool place to hangout that their parents do not know anything about. It is not clear, really.

Toward the end of the clip, two of the characters put on some protective gear and joust with sticks while riding motorcycles. It is dangerous but it is all in good fun. Then one of the guys is carried by the others into Lorde's secret chamber where she is waiting to greet him. It is like Colonel Kurtz in his weird hideout in 'Apocalypse Now,' except it is Lorde, of course.

The setting for 'Team' looks like the end of the world. Civilization, as we know it, seems done. It is pretty apocalyptic. But Lorde and her subjects are having a blast and becoming good friends and they have some new rituals they seem to enjoy performing, so it also seems very utopian: They are all on each other's #TEAM. What do you think? Is it apocayptic? Is it utopian? Is it both? Would you like to live in Lorde's city? Will we ever be royals?

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