Tag Archives: Joel Little

Tove Lo is a “Cool Girl.”

Tove Lo made waves in 2015 with her hit singles “Habits (Stay High)” and “Talking Body.”  Now she’s back with “Cool Girl,” the lead single for her upcoming album, Lady Wood, which is due out in the end of October.

I first heard about “Cool Girl” from Lorde and her producer Joel Little.  They were tweeting about how great it was, so I had to take a listen.  I mean, if Joel Little – who I’ve admired his production work – says a song is awesome, he must speak the truth.  At first, I wasn’t that chuffed – the beginning is a bit slow.  But once we hit the chorus, the song just takes off.  Not only does the chorus of “I’m a cool girl, I’m a, I’m a cool girl” grab you in, but the synth/bass work is fantastic.  It’s a great electronic song to bike/run/dance/exercise to.

Living Life Golden

If you’re looking for some new music to dance to this summer, check out Living Life Golden, the new album by Elliphant.  While the album is rich of party-antics that is reminiscent of Kesha, Britney Spears, and Katy Perry, it does have some great electronic dance beats and synth work.

The album starts out strong with “Step Down,” a song driven by a heavy bass line and catchy chorus.  The song is cowritten and produced by Joel Little, who is perhaps best known for cowriting and producing Pure Heroine by Lorde.

Little is one of those rare producers where I’ll listen to a song and instantly know he produced it, regardless of who the artist is.  There’s something is his production that is unique – he tends to have intricate percussive sounds mixed with great synth/bass lines, which I think creates an enticing song.  This is noticeable in “Step Down” and in the other two songs he cowrote/produced – “Where is Home” (which I would argue is one of the best songs on the album) and “One More (feat. MØ).”  “Where is Home” is slightly different that Little’s usual aesthetic as he utilizes (to great effect) the electric guitar, something his other productions lack – he tends to focus on the bass and other synths to drive the song.

In a world of pop music that skews to the depressing, if you’re looking for something light and refreshing I’d certainly recommend Living Life Golden by Elliphant, especially her collaborations with Joel Little.


Where Is Home

If I made a list of music producers I would love to work/learn/intern with, Joel Little would be high on the list.  I can’t say I’ve heard all his productions…I’ve been looking, but it’s slightly hard because a lot of his stuff is New Zealand based and not released (as far as I’m aware) in America.  Regardless, everything I’ve heard so far is absolutely phenomenal.

You may be familiar with Little’s work as he’s the mastermind behind Lorde, having cowritten and produced her album Pure Heroine, her EP The Love Club EP, and her Hunger Games hit “Yellow Flicker Beat.”    From what I have heard, I think his other work is also mind-blowing.  Little also cowrote/produced Broods’ album Evergreen which is just as great as Pure Heroine.  I heard a snippet of the song he did with Sam Smith, which I was impressed with because I wasn’t sure how he would mix his style with Smith’s.  He has a great way of creating beats and this electric energy within his songs that is so different and refreshing.

You can view his list of credits here.

My love of Joel Little’s work has gotten to the point that I know anything he works on is going to be amazing, so when he tweeted out yesterday that a song that he worked on with Elliphant – “Where is Home” – is out, I instantly downloaded it.  And it’s currently on repeat and stuck in my head.

The thing I love about this song is the great beat, bass, and synth work that Little puts in.  It creates a big and full chorus and makes you want to get up and dance around.

It was also ingenious that he (I’m assuming Little came up with this idea, feels like him) added an electric guitar during the second chorus (1:31) which really elevated the chorus.

So, keep your ears peeled for Joel Little.  The guy is a genius.


I saw this tweet today by Joel Little, Lorde’s co-writer and producer, and now I’m extremely excited.

I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, but I think this means that Lorde is working on her second studio album; I can’t wait.  Pure Heroine has become one of my most listened to and favorite albums because the beats and production is so different, so I’m really in need of her follow up album.  I read an interview where Lorde confirmed she has started work on her second album, but it is a departure from Pure Heroine in that it’s very different.

If she’s going to continue to work with Joel Little, as it seems evident by the tweet above, then her next album is going to be stellar.  I own three albums (Pure Heroine, Lorde’s Love Club – EP, and Evergreen by Broods) Little co-wrote and produced and his production is unique and mind blowing (I’ve been trying to find more music he has produced, but so far I can only get my hands on Lorde and Broods).  He creates incredible beats and his minimalistic approach paradoxically creates a fully and whole sound.  As a musician, it would be an honor to just be able to observe how he works in the studio, let alone begin able to write/record/produce a song with him.

In the meantime, I’m going to spend time dancing around to Lorde’s music and pray we get some news on her new album as soon as possible.  If you haven’t listened to Pure Heroine, I enthusiastically encourage you to, it is awesome.  If you’re a Lorde fan such as myself, I would also suggest you take a listen to Broods’ album Evergreen.  If you’re like me and you’ve been listening to both albums on repeat, sit tight because I have a feeling we’re getting a new album from Lorde very soon.  Fingers crossed!

“Brood”-ing for New Music

If you’re like me, you’re obsessed with Lorde’s music and can’t stop listening to Pure Heroine and The Love Club EP.  When she released “Yellow Flicker Beat” from the new Hunger Games Soundtrack, I was overjoyed because we finally had new Lorde music.  BUT IT ISN’T ENOUGH.  I find Lorde’s music irresistible from her clever, deep lyrics to her husky, almost standoffish (I know that’s not the right word, forgive me) voice to the incredible beats made by producer Joel Little.

Then I realized, maybe the key wasn’t waiting for new music by Lorde, but looking for more music produced by Joel Little.  This is not to suggest Lorde could be replaced, but hey if he produced both Pure Heroine and The Love Club EP, he has to hold some of the magic.

So I did some research and stumbled upon this group named Broods, which he also co-wrote and produced the whole album (#yay).  I listened to it on Spotify, and I am an instant fan.  Their music is not the same as Lorde, but it holds the same spirit of just being so insanely clever and incredible.  I think I’m becoming a fan of Joel Little and hope one day to work with him or just be able to see him work because so far his work is outstanding.

Take a listen to Evergreen, the Broods’ new album, you will not be sorry:

The Album Curator: Lorde’s MockingJay

Yesterday, Lorde tweeted out that she’d be taking on the responsibility of “curating” the new soundtrack for the upcoming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 movie.

She also revealed that she and her producer/co-writer Joel Little would be writing and releasing the first single off the soundtrack (yay!).

Which leads to two very important points: Lorde is making and releasing new music, and what the heck is an album curator? Continue reading

Tennis Court

The song stuck in my head and on repeat today? “Tennis Court” by Lorde, from Pure Heroine.  As such, this song is, for it’s second time, #PhillipsSongOfTheDay.

This song, like many of Lorde’s other songs, stood out to me upon first listen, but I’m still not entirely sure what it’s about.  I did find this interview with Lorde with VH1 describing the song:


Based on this video and further reflection of the lyrics, I personally take the song as being about growing up and trying to find your path in life.  For Lorde, she’s gained a lot of fame and attention for her music, so she has to factor that into her life plan.  For me, I’m not entirely sure what the heck I’m doing next week, let alone in life.  I know what I want to do, but who knows if that will work out.  I think this songs has resonated with me so much because of lyrics like:

“Don’t you think that it’s boring how people talk
Making smart with their words again, well I’m bored
Because I’m doing this for the thrill of it, killin’ it
Never not chasing a million things I want
And I am only as young as the minute is full of it
Getting pumped up on the little bright things I bought
But I know they’ll never own me”

“Baby be the class clown
I’ll be the beauty queen in tears
It’s a new art form showing people how little we care
We’re so happy, even when we’re smilin’ out of fear
Let’s go down to the tennis court, and talk it up like yeah (yeah)”

“I fall apart with all my heart”

“Tennis Court” also has been stuck in my head because, yet again, Joel Little has done a phenomenal job producing the song.  Strong points include the modified “yeah” throughout out the song (e.g. the “yeah” after the lyric “let’s go down to the tennis court and talk it up like yeah”), the swirling synths and beats during the chorus, and Lorde’s overall vocal delivery.  My one criticism of the song would weird/random synth that goes off around 0:05, and continues throughout the song, take a listen:

The best way I can describe the sound is that it’s kind of like that sound the scanner makes at the checkout counter at the grocery store (right?!).  Like I said, I first thought it was random and weird, it stood out like a sour thumb.  But, now, I think it adds to the beat and rhythm of the song, especially after the second chorus around the bridge (2:07-2:33).  I personally would not have thought to have added that to the production of the song, but it’s not horrible.

Random fact, my iTunes is playing the song "Paper Aeroplane" by KT Tunstall after "Tennis Court," it makes a kind of delightful transition…the accordion of "Paper Aeroplane" contrasts nicely from the synths of "Tennis Court"

Lorde’s New Single.

Glory and Goreshould be next single from Pure Heroine.  While “Team” is currently burning up radio here in the US, it is starting to fall on the iTunes top selling singles and the Billboard Hot 100, an indication that the single’s life is coming to an end.  While it is still in the bottom of the top ten in both iTunes and Billboard, it is time to think ahead.

“Glory and Gore,” while being a fan favorite, has started to gain traction with a wider audience.  I think perhaps it’s because it was used in a promotional campaign for the History Channel’s show Vikings:

I’m not entirely sure if that’s the only reason for it’s popularity (I don’t know if “Glory and Gore” was used in any other ads or promotions…I’m good, but not that good), but it has gone to number 40 on the iTunes Top 100:

"Glory and Gore" is currently #40 on iTunes, as of 2/25/14

“Glory and Gore” is currently #40 on iTunes, as of 2/25/14

The only other Lorde songs on the iTunes Top 100 are “Team” and “Royals,” her two hit singles.  Yesterday “Glory and Gore” was at number 41, so it’s position has been rising on it’s own accord (i.e. without any radio airplay or live performance promotion).  Given the fact that the History Channel, while a brilliant network, probably doesn’t serve a lot of viewers within Lorde’s target market (i.e. teens and college kids (although I know a lot of kids my age love the History Channel, so maybe it’s wrong to assume only older men watch the History Channel…)), if “Glory and Gore” is given the promotions within the given target then Lorde may have herself another Top 10 hit.

I also base this on the fact the song is one of the catchiest and more listened to songs on Pure Heroine.  With her usual dark and mystical vocals, “Glory and Gore” charms the listener within the first five seconds.  More specifically, during the chorus, Lorde and producer Joel Little added a background vocalized “oh, oh” which really draws the listener in.  Even her imagery within her lyrics of “gladiators,” “battles,” and “saviors” evokes this kind of brave fighter attitude that my generation espouses.  Don’t believe me this song is worth a listen?  Just listen to the clip in the Vikings commercial in the above YouTube clip and you’ll be listening to “Glory and Gore” on repeat!


“Glory and Gore” is now #28 on iTunes (cough, cough):

"Glory and Gore" is now #28 on iTunes Top 200, 2/26/14

“Glory and Gore” is now #28 on iTunes Top 200, 2/26/14



Quick poll for my fellow Lorde-ites:


“The Love Club” by Lorde

The Love Club” by Lorde is #PhillipsSongOfTheDay 

It’s been on repeat for the past hour.  Why?  Because Lorde is an incredible musician/artist, and I’ve been kind of obsessed with her music for the past month.  My sister and I were going to splurge and see her in concert, even though I’m a #brokecollegestudent, but we couldn’t get tickets!  It sold out too fast!

Seriously, though, “The Love Club” has this incredible pulsating/swelling background vocals (I don’t really know how to explain it…you just got to listen to it) that really makes the song.  The producer, I’m assuming Joel Little (he produced/co-produced all or Lorde’s music…I believe), did this thing where he added a crescendo to the fourth beat (I think) when Lorde’s background vocal goes up that makes the note change stand out….pure genius.  This will make more sense if you just listen to the song:

I also want to commend Lorde for the way she sings the chorus, especially the line “Be a part of the love club;” her phrasing is perfect.  The way a person sings just one word really can change my opinion of a song (e.g. the way Lorde sings the word “ruins” in her song “Team” is perfection…part of the reason it’s one of my favorite songs…not kidding).

I read an interpretation of “The Love Club” that said the song is about how if you want to be cool and to be “in the club,” by society’s/the media’s standards, you have to be dating someone or be in a relationship.  Basically, this is Lorde being her usual self of denouncing the media for telling people, particularly youths, how to live their lives.  I kind of admire that about Lorde and her music.  I generally don’t like songs that preach to people and tell people how to run their lives, but I think Lorde knows how to straddle that line.  Her songs stop right before telling people how they should live; she’s telling us how she chooses to live.  I find “The Love Club” to be refreshing, and, at this moment, relatable.