Lorde – “Team” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Brendan Briggs

Brendan is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer. In 2022, he released his first album "Dive" under the name "Arctotherium".

“Team” is a criticism of elitism (both geographical and artistic) and the repetitive nature of pop music. It’s also a celebration of Lorde’s home country, New Zealand, and her friends who stuck with her during her rise to fame. The lyrics focus on poking fun at superficial culture while praising the virtues of down-to-earth people.

Lorde wrote the song along with Joel Little while she was traveling extensively. Naturally, she began to compare her current life with her beginnings in Auckland, New Zealand (where the track was fittingly recorded). In doing so, she started feeling critical of the pop-music world she was involved in. For her direct inspiration, Lorde drew from a common well in the music world: a dream.

In this article, we’ll perform an analysis of these honest lyrics to decipher their hidden meaning. We’ll also take a look at the songwriting story and the themes that give this song its appeal. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

“Team” Lyrics Meaning

In a very mystical intro, the lyrics begin by giving the listener some noticeably condescending orders. We’re told to wait to be “announced” and “look upon Your Greatness.” Evidently, we’re in the presence of a very influential or powerful figure. After we are quickly humbled, the track transports us into the first verse.

Apparently, the ruler in question did “send the call out” as promised. First, the call is for “the ladies” who are dressed in “finery” and “jewels.” Essentially, they have the appearance of aristocrats. However, some of these jewels are “between teeth.” Keep this in mind, as I’ll explain this symbol in a moment.

Next, the boys are brought in. Lorde describes their “skin in craters like the moon,” which could indicate a variety of things. This doesn’t stop her from having affection for them since she loves them “like a brother.”

Who are these ladies and boys? According to the dream that inspired this idea, they are adolescents. The “jewels between teeth” can best be explained as braces, and the cratered skin is a description of acne. This entire society is one of teenagers, which explains why this is the case in the music video.

Why write about teenagers? Well, for one, Lorde was not yet 17 at the time of this production. Her rise to fame caused homesickness and unsettledness. This reportedly caused her to want to “go back to writing for me [Lorde] and for my friends,” which explains the youth of the characters in the lyrics.

The teenagers in question are “dancing around” both “lies” and “big eyes as well.” Shallowness is combined with seeing one another clearly. Interestingly, there seems to be some kind of mutual understanding not to “dance and tell” on another person. This is probably meant to describe the non-judgment of adolescents toward each other for their stage in life.

The chorus shifts the tone a bit. It is a celebration of Lorde’s friends and her unpretentious home. You may “never see” this group’s cities “on screen,” but those cities still matter. Similarly, they “may not be pretty,” but they “know how to run things.” The comparison between elitist judgment and practical friendship is at the heart of the song’s hook.

Lorde and her crew “live in ruins” of her dreamscape, but this doesn’t matter. They have loyalty – they know that they’re “on each other’s team.” The lyrics assert that friendship is greater than notoriety.

Due to the fact that Lorde and her tribe understand this, they don’t appreciate being talked down to by the culture. Being told to throw their “hands up in the air” and behave “without a care” is beneath them. Lorde confirmed that these lines are a direct critique of the pop-music world, which misunderstands young people.

In verse two, Lorde describes the aftermath of this royal dance. “The cups got broke,” but she doesn’t seem to care. The destruction was a natural byproduct of the process (not their fault).

The reason for this explosivity is that the partygoers were “competing for a love they won’t receive” – the typical adolescent struggle for acceptance. They desire “release” from this enough to bring about a bit of mayhem along the way.

At this point, the song repeats the chorus until the end. To sum up, “Team” is about a group of peers going through the same natural stage together. To do this right, they have to disregard the superficial rules of the outside world and focus on each other.

The Story Behind “Team”

It’s been said that the events of our waking lives structure our subconscious. Our subconscious certainly structures our dreams, so it’s no wonder that Lorde received the blueprint for this song’s theme in sleep.

Reportedly, Lorde had a dream in which she saw a world run by teenagers. There were initiations and hierarchies, but they weren’t stringent and exclusive. People were allowed in for their effort, not for meeting the standards of other people.

This dream was likely a product of Lorde’s life circumstances at the time. She was traveling the world and had experienced a very sudden rise to fame. For a girl from Auckland, New Zealand (a city you’ll seldom see on screen), it was overwhelming at times.

In one move, Lorde wrote “Team” to simultaneously criticize pop music culture and regional snobbishness. While doing this, she also intended to celebrate her friends and the people in her life who stuck by her authentically.

The result was a massive success, both commercially and critically. The track reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and received no shortage of critical acclaim for its originality. Fans all over the world have come to appreciate some art that came out of Auckland, so it seems that Lorde managed to put the place on the map in her own way.

The next time you play this catchy tune, let these pieces of background information make it even more special!