In a post on the prominent feminist blog feministing.com, writer Veronica Bayetti Flores took issue with the song's lyrics, in which Yelich-O'Connor sings that "every song" is about gold teeth and Maybach luxury cars -- both fixtures of hip-hop music videos -- before concluding "we don't care, we're driving Cadillacs in our dreams.""While I love a good critique of wealth accumulation and inequity, this song is not one; in fact, it is deeply racist," wrote Bayetti Flores. "Because we all know who she's thinking when we're talking gold teeth, Cristal (champagne) and Maybachs. So why s--- on black folks? Why s--- on rappers?"
Okay, so I can understand Ms. Flores' point of view, but it's nothing that came to mind until she said it. And I still don't agree with it. Time.com made a good point on the matter - they let us know that Lorde's fans defended her, stating that Ms. Flores' point of view is American, and we shouldn't place American cultural norms on those who aren't even American. (Lorde is from New Zealand.) Does Ms. Flores even know what's popular with what cultural group in New Zealand?
Even if there are some items in the song that are primarily popular in rap / hip hop culture, that doesn't necessarily make them racist. And really, Lorde isn't saying anything negative about them, anyway. She's pointing out some possible aspects of culture for those with loads of money, and really, I don't think anyone would really mind having enough money for diamonds and frequent island visits.
There are plenty of songs out there with racist undertones, and some that are blatantly racist. Why not leave the sixteen year old who's trying to show that she's just not into money alone, and talk about those who are truly spreading a negative message?