Not A Bad Sports Joke: Lorde’s ‘Royals’ Was Inspired By George Brett And The Kansas City Royals

If you were anywhere near a radio (or movie trailer) this summer you heard ‘Royals,’ the debatably-racist smash hit by 17-year old New Zealander Lorde. You know, this one:

If you’re an adult without a radio or the type who wisely refrains from clicking anything with “VEVO” on it, the song is about how she’s poor and everyone else (especially the rappers) in the music industry is rich and famous, but she doesn’t care, both because she’s deeply human and because this song’s making her rich and famous.

The joke if you’re a guy who likes sports is probably, “Royals like the Kansas City Royals,” and guess what? You’re correct. After two full seasons of people arguing about what the song means sociologically, it turns out she wrote the song after looking at a picture of George Brett in his Royals uniform in an old magazine. Whoops!

“I had this image from the National Geographic of this dude just signing baseballs,” Lorde told us when we sat down with her recently. “He was a baseball player and his shirt said, ‘Royals.’” Lorde was so taken by the image and the word that she penned the song around that idea. ”It was just that word. It’s really cool.”

From Lorde herself:

I like that song a lot more now. She’s never gonna make the Major Leagues, where everyone … uh, has gold teeth!

Other songs I suspect have been inspired by MLB:

– Toby Keith’s ‘Shoulda Been A Cowboy,’ where he talks about “riding shotgun for the Texas Rangers.”
– ‘Jungle Love’ by The Time is about the ori-Orioles
– Tim McGraw’s ‘Indian Outlaw,’ which was clearly inspired by Albert Belle
– everything Damn Yankees ever recorded
– Real Life’s ‘Send Me An Angel’ is about trade prospects in the AL West

[h/t to the Nosebleeds]