11 weeks of Pure Heroine: Ribs
Sophia Guerrier, A&E Editor
We are five weeks deep in this series, which brings us to the song “Ribs”. This is a fairly repetitive track which encompasses Lorde’s frantic anxieties on growing up and her desire to remain young. Lorde’s inspiration behind “Ribs” is from the memory of her throwing a large house party at her home for the first time when her parents went away. At a concert, Lorde went into further explanation about “Ribs”, and would later state in an interview with MTV that this is her favorite song that she has written.
“I wrote this song on a Monday in February last year. And I wrote it following this weekend where me and my sister and our best friend threw this huge house party at my place. Like the kind of house party where people eating all the shit out of your fridge and freezer, like, defrosting things in your microwave… And at the end, everyone just crashed at my house, on the floor of every room. And there was one guy who came around after lights out… and he crashed with me and my best friend in my bed. And I couldn’t sleep. And he’s like ‘What is it?’ and I was like ‘What we just did is cool. It’s cool. You know, doing this thing, throwing this house party, it’s adult. And there’s something scary about doing something that is in a different world than the one you know. My whole life I’ve been doing the things that kids do, you know, fucking around and not having any responsibility. It scared me to think of having one foot in that adult world because who says that we can go back? Like, can you be a kid and still do adult things? Do you have to leave that world behind? And this is the thought that keeps me up at night, all the time,” Lorde said during the interview with MTV.
The opening lines which are later repeated in the chorus, “The drink you spilt all over me, 'Lover's Spit' left on repeat, My mom and dad let me stay home, It drives you crazy, getting old” positions us right in the middle of Lorde’s tipsy conscious as the party unwinds. Even though Lorde is speaking in the second person and saying the word “you,” she reveals that she is speaking to herself with the line, “it drives you crazy, getting old.”
“Lover’s Spit” is a song by Broken Social Scene that captures a person’s desire for belonging and love and interestingly enough carries the lyrics, “You know it's time, That we grow old and do some shit”. “Lover’s Spit” being on repeat not only signifies the ending of the party since noone has changed the song, but the lyrics of “Lover’s Spit” previously stated could be a metaphor for their youth slowly coming to an end as the party does.
Lorde’s obsession with maturing and temporary adolescence illustrated from her own words regarding the song and from the previous track, “400 lux”, it would only make sense that she is referring to her own angst about growing up. It’s also very common for a drunk teenager to spill their drink all over themselves.
The next lines of the song “We can talk it so good, we can make it so divine, we can talk it good, how you wish it would be all the time” is simply relating back to conversations of delight and nostalgia that Lorde may have had with her best friend. A conversation that might’ve led up to the idea of the party that was thrown.
As these lines transition to the chorus, the calm, softness of Lorde’s singing dramatically changes into a more hurried, loud and distressed tone. This changeover represents Lorde’s admitted fear to grow older as her pitch rises to that of almost like a scared child trying to explain themselves.
“This dream isn't feeling sweet, We're reeling through the midnight streets, And I've never felt more alone, It feels so scary, getting old” is the second verse that pertains directly to Lorde’s connection of throwing a party to adulthood in her words at the concert. The bridge, “I want em back, the minds we had ....” is a direct wish to become a child again where Lorde has forgotten how it feels, just like how an adult may forget how it feels to be a teenager.
Lorde finally confesses that she has already lost the majority of her innocence and is having nostalgic flashbacks that then leads into the short outro. An interpolation, a melody from a previously recorded song, of “Paramour” by Cyrus, “You're the only friend I need, sharing beds like little kids, laughing 'til our ribs get tough, But that will never be enough.”
Next week, “Buzzcut Season” will be analyzed.