The Meaning of Royals by Lorde

This song is all about being proud to be from humble origins and not needing the lifestyles of the rich and famous to be happy. The singer prefers to keep to her roots and to remember where she came from. She also makes references to how the media glorifies the fancy lifestyle and lures people into it.

These days everyone is following hollywoods actors and TV stars and getting involved with their lives more so than the people around them. They make it seem like these people are somehow superheroes instead of regular people like everyone else.

Thousands of people have affairs everyday but when someone from Hollywood has one it’s all of a sudden a big deal and makes it way through the news. The normal actions of these actors, singers, and popular people somehow draws the mass attention of the media and us regular folk.

The reality is they are just normal people that are good at what they do. Everyone understands what this song is in a nutshell but let’s examine the pieces for fun and get more specific.

Lyrics in italics:

I’ve never seen a diamond in the flesh
I cut my teeth on wedding rings in the movies
And I’m not proud of my address,
In a torn-up town, no postcode envy

Growing up poor, diamonds and riches, were a rarity among the people our artist was brought up around. Cutting her teeth on wedding rings in the movies is a way to say she learned about wedding rings and fancy things from watching movies. Cutting teeth means the same as “how someone gained experience.”

She’s not proud that she has to bring attention to this fact of where she has lived, coming from a torn-up town or messed up area. No postcode envy refers to the fact that there isn’t anything to really notable or unique where she comes from.

But every song’s like gold teeth, grey goose, trippin’ in the bathroom
Blood stains, ball gowns, trashin’ the hotel room,
We don’t care, we’re driving Cadillacs in our dreams.
But everybody’s like Cristal*, Maybach, diamonds on your timepiece.
Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash.
We don’t care, we aren’t caught up in your love affair.

This part can be taken literal. Gold teeth, your grill. Grey goose, alcohol. Tripping in the bathroom is a referral to being wasted and stumbling into the bathroom or doing some type of drug in the bathroom and “trippin”, which may refer to LSD.

Bloodstains refers to being reckless, ball gowns is a reference to partying, and ‘trashin’ a hotel room is more reckless party behavior common of musicians.

Not caring and driving cadillacs in their dreams means that they don’t participate in this lifestyle and instead live it through their dreams.

Cristal is a form of sparkling wine producted by Louis Roederer. Maybach is a luxurious automobile. Diamonds in your timepiece refers to diamonds in a watch.

Jetplanes, islands, tigers on a gold leash refers to luxurious and exotic lifestyle that few can afford.

Not being caught up in the love affair simply means that they are not attached to this type of lifestyle and don’t need it.

And we’ll never be royals (royals).
It don’t run in our blood,
That kind of luxe just ain’t for us.
We crave a different kind of buzz.
Let me be your ruler (ruler),
You can call me queen Bee
And baby I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule.
Let me live that fantasy.

Royals and blood refers to royalty and wealth.

When I first heard the song I thought they were saying lux, meaning light. Then I thought perhaps they meant lux as in short for luxury. But the real word used is “luxe” which is not short for anything, it is a French word that literally means luxury.

The last four lines are about fantasizing about having all of the things they said they aren’t attached to.

best lorde quote

[Verse 2]
My friends and I—we’ve cracked the code.
We count our dollars on the train to the party.
And everyone who knows us knows that we’re fine with this,
We didn’t come for money.

Her and her friends, even though they are now rich, are very conservative and don’t like to blow money. Taking a train to the party shows that they are common folk using regular transportation. Everyone of their friends knows they are just regular people that aren’t about the money.

But every song’s like gold teeth, grey goose, trippin’ in the bathroom.
Blood stains, ball gowns, trashin’ the hotel room,
We don’t care, we’re driving Cadillacs in our dreams.
But everybody’s like Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your timepiece.
Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash
We don’t care, we aren’t caught up in your love affair

Same as above.

And we’ll never be royals (royals).
It don’t run in our blood
That kind of luxe just ain’t for us.
We crave a different kind of buzz.
Let me be your ruler (ruler),
You can call me queen Bee
And baby I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule.
Let me live that fantasy.

Same as above.

Ooh ooh oh
We’re bigger than we ever dreamed,
And I’m in love with being queen.
Ooh ooh oh
Life is great without a care
We aren’t caught up in your love affair.

This refers to them making it big and having the money and power to get everything they want. Even with all of that power they still aren’t focusing on or putting much effort into acquiring all the fancy things.

And we’ll never be royals (royals).
It don’t run in our blood
That kind of luxe just ain’t for us.
We crave a different kind of buzz
Let me be your ruler (ruler),
You can call me queen Bee
And baby I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule.
Let me live that fantasy.

Same as above.

14 thoughts on “The Meaning of Royals by Lorde”

  1. You wrote
    “The last four lines are about fantasizing about having all of the things they said they aren’t attached to.”

    The four lines are

    “Let me be your ruler (ruler),
    You can call me queen Bee
    And baby I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule.
    Let me live that fantasy.”

    Perhaps she is into some sort of matriarchal-ish
    dominance over her partner (or at least the fantasy of it)
    rather than all the things they said they aren’t attached to.

    Perhaps there is a connection between luxury/extravagance/money
    and patriarchy? Engels may even have said so!

    And finally, a minor point, when she said she
    “cut my teeth on (diamond) wedding rings in the movies”
    sounds a very painful metaphor suggesting that she does
    not like wedding rings in the movies.

    And I wonder what code she has cracked.

    1. She cracked the code: now she has money, but still, she’s counting her money and taking the train. And she’s cool with it.

  2. Sorry about my english:
    I would like to consider:
    It is just a lyric, it is not autobiografy
    It is a history of someone, not necessary the singer.
    The singer is just the teller of the history.
    And you interpreted the lyrics like if was the singer history.
    It is my tip.
    Best Regards

  3. ‘No postcode envy refers to the fact that there isn’t anything to really notable or unique where she comes from.’ – I’d slightly disagree with your assessment. Postcode envy is a usual saying (in Australia anyway) that simply means as it states, envious of living in a good area. So she is saying that no-one where she lives is envious of other postcodes, OR WHAT THEY HAVE. And I think its saying a bit about NZ (and Aus), in that everyone really is NOT jealous of others postcodes. We like where we are, and the way we live. We are not jealous of rich people, we think we have it just great thankyou. Probably can only be said in a few countries where is a very large middle class, an no real lower class (in comparison to other countries). Yes its utopia to others, but it can end up seeming very grey and normal. IT is real, and we love it.

  4. Well, this song is amazing and a wonderful response to the rich kids of Tehran’s page(Tehran is capital city of Iran) in instagram cause they just think about money in this folks bad economical situation in my country Iran . Anyway I love the song and so do the singer.and appreciate her because of saying my heart’s words.

  5. You missed something big. Their life is about being with each other.
    “We didn’t come for money.” … we came for the company
    “We crave a different kind of buzz. / Let me be your ruler (ruler), / You can call me queen Bee” wasn’t discussed at all. Royal buzz is being drunk; their buzz is being with each other.

  6. great explanation philosopher. Now this track is making more sense to me, I loved it overly much but I couln’t gather the context of it. Now it crystally clear. Thanks to you, senor.

  7. I’m pretty sure with the lyric blood stains she is referring to how songs talk about drugs and usually drugs like heroin IV. one example is chili peppers under the bridge.

  8. “My friends and I have cracked the code”
    Well I found it suspicious… How all of them get rich at the same time?
    I think they robbed some cash machine in hacker’s ways and took the train to the party counting how much they have stolen.
    Is it possible?

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