Lorde: Tennis Court Meaning
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Song Released: 2013
Tennis Court Lyrics
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...
anonymous Mar 14th, 3:59pm report
Ms. Yellich-O'Connor is noted for two particular things in her upbringing. Her mother is a highly regarded poet and Ella herself spent much of her childhood reading books, listening to a variety of music recordings and learning how to put words to beats. By the time she was twelve years old she was performing both covers and original songs locally. Before she entered the pop realm with her "style" that became her "Lorde" persona, she started recording what would become the "Love Club" EP. In the course of making that recording she went from being a talent show entertainer to someone that others around her began to recognize as a star.
"Tennis Court" tells that story with a keen sense of history and metaphor derived from her studies and her astute interpretation of her observations. Each line of the song reflects the clash of emotions with expectations- her own as well as those around her. Her gift is an embedding of scholarly attention to detail, a fascination with both power and its limitations, and the ability to use her physical range as a singer in tandem to her emotional range as she continues to discover new feelings, expectations and limitations. What she has in store for us most likely has a lot to do with what we have in store for her.
anonymous Jan 25th, 2014 1:22pm report
I think this song is about how people percieve you, through your clothes and place in society. I think the tennis court refers to a place that you can go and be yourself without being judged. I lobe this song and think it very personal, so that only lorde herself knows the real meaning of thw lyrics.
anonymous Dec 17th, 2013 12:58am report
As one of the submitters was saying, these lyrics have layered interpretations and I think people are missing the point, as they do with much of Lorde's music. I think 'Tennis Court' is as many are saying, about the French Revolution and Marie Antoinette but also about the modern day in high school and in relation to becoming famous. So it is a merge of the interpretations people have submitted here.
Lorde has a love for history and monarchs, which is how she chose her stage name, which is why she has used this significant point in history to link to her current situation as a teenager who has just experienced high school and is beginning to experience the transition into fame. It is very clever how the lyrics apply to all three of these situations and certain lyrics have different meanings depending on which it is applied to. For example, "I'll be the beauty queen" refers to the way in which young Marie Antoniette rebelled royalty and became the beauty queen of the day. It also describes the 'popular' girl in high school that girls dream of being and thirdly, it describes highly admired celebrities, which is what Lorde currently aspires to be.
Lorde not only writes about herself, she also has written lyrics that are relatable and can apply to many different people although I think she is particuarly targeting it at young people who have recently experience social standing within high school while tailoring the song to be very personal to herself.
anonymous Dec 16th, 2013 12:51pm report
I think it has something to do with Marie Antoinette and the Tennis court oath but it also has lines in it like "pretty soon I'll be getting on my first plane/I'll see the veins of my city like they do in space" so I think it has a modern twist that has to do with an upper class girl that doesn't really like or fit in with the upper class and hates and mocks their materialistic ways.
anonymous Dec 12th, 2013 12:12am report
I agree with it being about Marie Antoinette, Louis XVI and the French Revolution (as someone said above). It is pretty evident in the lyrics, and in the music video she is also wearing clothes in the style of that era. Also, Lorde came up with her stage name (Lorde obviously) because of her love for monarchs, in particular Marie Antoinette, so it wouldn't surprise me if she wrote a song from her viewpoint.
anonymous Nov 29th, 2013 11:16am report
This song has a lot of evidence pointing to the fact that the song may be about the tennis court oath, a point in history during the French Revolution. Marie Antoinette, the young queen of France, has just married king Louis XVI. The lines that say, "baby be the class clown, I'll be the beauty queen in tears. Lets go down to the tennis court and talk it up like yeah" refers to how king Louis, only a teenager was immature and had no idea how to rule his country. He is the "class clown". Marie Antoinette on the other hand was very bored with politics,as a 14 year old should be, and became known for her outrageous fashions and was the "beauty queen of France. During meetings of the three estates, new political reforms were being discussed and when the lower class was being denied proper representation, the deputies decided they would abandon and go to a tennis court nearby to discuss, or "talk it up like yeah". These deputies determined to help the true people of France, the poor, starving people, stated they would not stop meeting at the tennis court, until a new constitution was created. This song, from the point of view of Marie Antoinette, clearly speaks of a tragic yet symbolic time in French history.
anonymous Oct 23rd, 2013 10:30pm report
First off, I think that we should look at her whole album. It is based of the whole idea of being yourself and loving it. Which is not something you see in a lot of mainstream/pop music. Lorde brought the whole thing to a new level, she is loved for her songs and got put on a throne in todays pop music because of it. What is so funny though is that her songs aren't just catchy and fun to dance to, but most of them talk about the oppistite of what mainstream music symbolizes. Ok, keeping this in mind we can move on to tennis court. Personally this is one of my favirote songs by her (and I listened to her music before she was all over the radio, and I also really like love club and buzz cut season). In the begging of the song she immeditly says, "Don't you think that it's boring how people talk" and immeditly i think ok sure, i get that. You see so many people in our society that are afraid to be themeselves. Maybe thats not exactly what she was getting at but i think that it does have something to do with your individual voice. The tennis court symbolizes a place were the cool kids came to hang out or even could literally be a tennis court were cool kids did hang out. These cool kids are apart of the popular group though and I think Lorde was trying to explain how she loved being with them but cant escape the group the same time. "How can a fuck with he fun again, when im known". I think she means that now, because she is getting to be in this cool kid group, it i that much harder to hate it. I think thats the whole base of the song. That this tennis court is were the group is. But tht does not mean that Lorde cant venture to change that idea of cool and that she definetly has the capability to change the way people think about music, especially pop, in general. I think that no kne should bring her down for what she has to say and that she should say whatever her point is. I just hope that she doesnt go back to the tennis court unless she is sure its for the best.
anonymous Jul 25th, 2013 7:52am report
I don't think Lorde's songs are necessarily easily understood as about one thing specifically, they are about several things. More of a layered poem. Nothing says Angst as clearly as a muddled, confused mish-mash of emotional imagery.
I understand several aspects of this song. Inmy observation, Lorde says "we" where you might better understand "I". Either LORDe is using the royal "We", or she is including her fellow musicians/friends.
Tennis Court -- this is the "it" place to go to hang out in her neighborhood as a teenager. This represents friendship and home, where you can be yourself, contrasted to High School and the Spotlight of Success. Also, it is the place she and her friends go to "get real" and talk about things.
Generally this song is about angst of change. Specifically alluding to developing independent social identity and not caring what other people think about you in High School. The song compares titles and identifiers in High school to fame, both being shallow and not really about human relationship.
This song is also about the angst about becoming famous "doin this for the thrill of it, killin it" and how this can be a duplicitious thrill and burden "We're so happy, even when we're smilin' out of fear". I think "beauty queen" is an allusion again to being in the spotlight.
Also consider how you might interpret "Getting pumped up from the little bright things I bought. But I know they'll never own me" This could refer to temptations that come with fame, to the pretend facades we use in highschool, or struggling to not sell out as an artist.
"And my boys trip me up with their heads again, loving them
Everything's cool when we're all in line, for the throne
But I know it's not forever"
THis captures the dual angst of sharing success with the band is great, and they share comradery and struggle with getting egos together and the fact that these great moments will not last, fading as a pretend persona might when you leave high school and travel home.
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