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Lorde wins VMA for Best Rock Video; but is ‘Royals’ really rock?

Singer Lorde poses in the press room during the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California.
Singer Lorde poses in the press room during the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California.Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Lorde made history Sunday night at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards. The young New Zealand singer became the first female solo artist to win in the category of Best Rock Video in the award’s history. The 17-year-old won for her song “Royals” and beat out rock bands Linkin Park, Imagine Dragons, Arctic Monkeys, and The Black Keys. Although Lorde accepted the award dressed like a rock star, there has been some backlash because the song itself is not really considered to be "rock".

Lorde still received the award with little surprise and excitement on her face, despite winning in a category that doesn’t fit her music. In accepting the award she was a little confused about where to look. She asked, “Is there like a specific place I’m supposed to be looking?” She then expressed how “grateful” she was and then had to apologize for swearing after she thanked her high school classmates who appeared in the video.

Although fans were happy the young singer took home an award, there was backlash from some rock fans, expressing some confusion as to why Lorde was even nominated in the category. Mathew Coyte, editor-in-chief of Australian Rolling Stone summed up that confusion and tried to explain why she would even be put in a category that doesn’t necessarily fit her music.

He said:

'Royals’ is by no means a rock song by anyone’s definition, it’s a electronic track. It seems odd that it wasn’t in a category against Katy Perry and Ariana Grande. It seems like they wanted to give [Lorde] an award and Ariana Grande an award and decided to put her in rock.”

The VMAs, however, aren’t the only awards show that put “Royals” in the category of rock. Lorde won the best rock category at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards as well. There seems to be a broad and loose definition of rock these days. But it was still good to see Lorde recognized for her music.