Four years after making her phenomenal music debut, Lorde has returned with her highly-anticipated sophomore effort Melodrama and is poised to hit the road on her Melodrama World Tour later this year. Let’s take a closer look at this week’s spotlight artist and break down her new album in a track-by-track review.
1. Green Light
This lead single not only put Lorde back on the charts when she dropped it in March, but also serves as a dynamic opening track. Lorde has herself described “Green Light” as a mixed bag, as it pairs together sour lyrics with a driving, upbeat keyboard melody with surprising ease. It is able to play into several emotions of a listener, which goes to show how versatile and gifted she is as a songwriter.
Dreamy synths accompany Lorde’s smoky, sultry voice in this track that offers a fresh take on the concept of drunken weekend behavior. The stealthy chorus paints a picture familiar to young, seemingly unstoppable folks living in the moment (“We’re the king and queen of the weekend / Ain’t a pill that can touch our rush”) before remembering the high won’t last forever (“But what will we do when we’re sober?”).
3. Homemade Dynamite
Continuing the high started in “Sober,” Lorde basks in the glory of meeting someone at a party where the sparks of attraction are flying. The chorus is relatively weak in composition compared to the rest of the song, though that doesn’t necessarily define this as a low point of the album.
4. The Louvre
“The Louvre” details the inevitable “Honeymoon Phase” of a relationship in a mature and sophisticated narrative (“Our days and nights are perfumed with obsession”). It is honest and immortalizes the blissful beginning stages of a relationship one wants to remember even after its demise. In this sense, it stands apart from all other tracks on the album.
This heartbreaking piano ballad is perhaps the New Zealand native at her most vulnerable. Any song can detail the pain of losing a love, as does “Liability.” However, the song truly packs an emotional punch through Lorde’s honest lyrics in which she blames herself for relationships failing. Her vocals are slightly underwhelming, but fittingly raw for the song’s nature.
6. Hard Feelings/Loveless
The emotional stages of a breakup are unpredictable, as evidenced in this two-for-one track. Pure pain and denial that a relationship is over are explored in the beginning half, “Hard Feelings,” whereas anger, revenge and manipulation take the forefront of “Loveless” in trippy, electro fashion.
7. Sober II (Melodrama)
The album’s title track offers a vastly different narrative than its earlier counterpart. When contrasting both sides of “Sober,” Lorde has said, “In the first part, it’s very much like the party’s in full swing…and then [“Sober II”] is sort of singing from the perspective of the deflated room. There’s such a sadness to the lights being on after a party, you know, this whole room has sort of been washed in this dark, and to see the corners of the room again can always be a little bit heartbreaking.” It is indeed melancholy, intense and pensive, making it an intriguing listen.
8. Writer in the Dark
Perhaps the most angst-ridden song on the album, “Writer in the Dark” confirms that the singer will love an ex for the rest of her days but is unapologetic for being an artist first and foremost, one who will “play and sing and lock you in her heart.” The minimal production on the track’s surface allows Lorde’s voice to soar over a simple piano accompaniment and leave a lasting impression.
Lorde has a unique ability to disguise somber subject matter with a feel-good melody, which is exactly what makes “Supercut” a standout track. It’s remarkably relatable as she mulls over all the “what if’s” of a now-failed relationship and focuses on everything that could have been in a flash of visions in her mind. The story is bittersweet yet somehow optimistic for moving forward.
10. Liability (Reprise)
Rather than piling the blame and criticism on herself again, Lorde revisits “Liability” with a warped thought process that her ex is also to blame for letting their love slip away, as she repeatedly mutters “but you’re not what you thought you were.”
11. Perfect Places
Lorde spends most of Melodrama reminding the world that she is young and still learning the process of growing up through love, heartbreak and self-discovery. In the album’s closing track, she delves into the profound thinking of the party lifestyle full of sex, drugs, and alcohol provides nothing but an illusion of utopia. It not only causes a listener to question what is a perfect place anyway, but reiterates the fact that even when dealing with often-naive issues, Lorde proves to be wise beyond her years.
What is your favorite song from Melodrama? Leave a comment and let us know!
Catch Lorde at upcoming festivals like Lollapalooza and on the Melodrama World Tour, which kicks off September 26 in the U.K and brings Lorde across Europe, New Zealand, Australia and North America through April 2018.