Stop Asking Lorde About Taylor Swift and Her Imaginary ‘Squad’ All the Damn Time
The 20-year-old pop wunderkind formerly known as Ella Yelich-O’Connor is a full-blown star in her own right, not just some member of a made-up “squad.” Let’s treat her like one.
If y’all don’t leave Lorde alone. The pop star, currently on a press tour for her acclaimed new album Melodrama, would probably like to talk about her music. Instead, she’s been repeatedly asked questions about her friend Taylor Swift. Because Lorde and Swift have been photographed together before, the ensuing narrative was that Lorde is part of her “squad” — that gang of roving women that followed Swift everywhere she went while she was promoting her 1989 tour. Whether or not Lorde was ever part of this platoon, the time has come for everyone to stop asking her goddamn questions about Swift every chance they get.
This Friday, the Australian TV show Sunrise aired an interview with Lorde by reporter David Kock where for some reason she was asked about her relationship with Swift instead of about her album. During their conversation, Kock asked: “What was it like, sort of, observing all of those heroes of yours? And then starting to mix in those circles after Pure Heroine [Lorde’s debut album]?” while images of Lorde with Beyoncé and Swift flashed on the screen.
Lorde responded: “The second you think too hard about it, you’ll just go insane so it’s best to be like, ‘We’re in Wonderland. That’s just what happens around here.’ Like, also, I don’t hang out with these people at all.” Assuming Lorde had just denied Swift three times for thirty pieces of silver, the interviewer followed up with: “But hang on, you’re part of Taylor’s squad, all the magazines tell us.”
If the magazines tell you something it surely must be correct, but Lorde was quick to sidestep the conversation so she could move on: “You know, you make friends in different places. But I think for the most part, I’m not like calling up my idols for advice, necessarily.” The comments prompted a flurry of opinions on social media, leaving Lorde the latest victim of a nontroversy following Andrew Garfield and his tongue-in-cheek comments about RuPaul’s Drag Race. She stood accused of downplaying her friendship with Swift and the entire thing was blown out of proportion. It was enough that Lorde had to issue a response on Twitter to shut everyone the hell up already.
Lorde’s entire response in full was: “Wow — something of a frustrating thing to have to address online but here we go. Taylor is a dear friend. I love her very much. In the interview in the question I had just been talking about Bowie and Patti Smith — those were the ‘idols’ I was referring to that I was saying I’m not friends with, not Taylor! I’ve always found people’s perception of this ‘squad’ idea frustrating in the past; it was never some exclusive club or secret society, but a wide circle of people, some of whom I know, some who I’ve never met, like most wide groups of friends. Forgive me for the mild eye roll I popped when it was brought up as if we’re all blood members of a secret cult. Really shitty to wake up to headlines about whether or not you’ve jumped ship on someone you deeply respect and ride for. I want to say one more time that Taylor has been there for me in all my dark and light moments these past 5 years. All of them. I feel truly terrible that it would ever seem like I wasn’t faithfully her person. I fucked up an interview question. Now go sip a beverage and head out on a walk.”
The response is certainly… thorough, but it wasn’t really necessary. Even if Lorde was talking about Swift, the phrase, “I don’t hang out with these people at all” was said with a laugh, which is to suggest that, yes, she and Swift share a bond and superstars, but Lorde probably has her own damn friends in New Zealand that she hangs out with every day? Lorde is definitely right when it comes to the idea of Swift’s squad — mostly cooked up by white lady journalists co-opting black slang and acting as if Swift created the term “squad” as she rallied a group of famous women around her constantly. Most of the people assumed to be in Swift’s so-called “squad” by the media have probably met her once. Beyoncé attended Swift’s birthday and tabloids tried to say she was in Swift’s squad. Beyoncé was barely in her own squad, the musical group Destiny’s Child. Why would she go hang out with a new group of teenagers?
This is the second time a nontroversy has started over Lorde and Swift — the first being when she jokingly compared being friends with Swift to having an autoimmune disease. Sure, it was an off-color joke, but when the drama came to light people asked, “What would Selena Gomez, who has lupus, think about this?”
Rather than asking Lorde about every pop star she’s ever crossed paths with, how about we take the time to find out who she is? The obsession with whether or not people who rode with Swift once before still ride with her is becoming aggressively annoying — as annoying as her non-feud with Katy Perry (which is probably why Swift started hanging out with all these damn people for the Instagrams anyway). But even more than that, hasn’t Lorde proved herself enough as a musician to be asked about her actual music?