To capture both the elation and anxiety of an entire generation with a single album is no simple feat. Lorde, however, is no simple artist. After bursting onto the scene with her teenaged debut ‘Pure Heroine’, she then proceeded to leave us hanging for what seemed like an unimaginable amount of time. Four years later, she has finally returned to us,and what a statement she has made. In the early, hazy days of this year’s summer, the master of indie pop took us all by surprise when she suddenly announced the release of ‘Green Light’, which was to be the lead single from her latest anguish laden piece: ‘Melodrama’. Having been a fan of Lorde since ‘Pure Heroine’, I expected her new work to be incredible, but I found myself totally unprepared for the sheer power of ‘Green Light’. The song opens with a biting statement from an embittered Lorde, as shestates, with a fury that is initially shocking, that she now does ‘her make-up in somebody else’s car’. This uncontainable kind of anger continues throughout the first verse of ‘Green Light’, until it finally culminates in a pulsating riot of a chorus, with a stunning key change and a sudden poignancy in the lyricism. While the piano beat rapidly growsmore uplifting, Lorde’s words begin to feel increasingly heart-breaking.She sings, in a desperate tone, of how she can ‘come get her things’ but ‘can’t let go’. It is a terribly sad song, yet its melancholy nature isconcealed by the electrifying, joyous chorus. Much like Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Second Hand News’, ‘Green Light’ is a deceptive track, and has us dancing with ecstasy while simultaneously contemplating a break-up and wondering if we are ever going to be able to truly move on.
The rest of ‘Melodrama’ focuses heavily on exploring key themes of young adulthood and often reflects on the remnants of past relationships. This is never clearer than in ‘Perfect Places’ and ‘Writer In The Dark’, where the former depicts the beauty of adolescent confusion while the latter woefully considers the reasons for the breakdown of a relationship and attempts to remain hopeful about the future. In ‘Perfect Places’, Lorde manages to effectively portray the feeling of absolute terror that comes with making the transition from child to adult. In the verses, she talks of uncertainty, of monotony and of release. She claims that she ‘hates the headlines and the weather’, and asks us if we are ‘lost enough’, just before breaking into a pounding chorus that has us searching for imaginary places, where we can escape from the anxieties of growing pains by drinking too much and thinking too little.In contrast, ‘Writer In The Dark’ finds no such release in partying, and instead serves as the album’s most heart-wrenching track. It is the kind of song that leaves us devastated on Lorde’s behalf, furious with whoever it was that could hurt her in such a manner. It is filled with sombre lyrics, as we are told in the first verse that Lorde’s former lover ‘stood on her chest and kept her down’, and that he ‘hated hearing her name on the lips of a crowd’. Such brutality makes for a song so gut-wrenching that it feels raw, and conveys a kind of sadness that I didn’t know was possible.
‘Melodrama’ is unlike any album I have ever heard. It achieves so much, and has had me so enthralled that I’ve hardly been able to listen to anyone but Lorde since June. These kinds of records don’t come around very often, and it would be a disservice to yourself not to listen to it. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Ultimately, its ability to perfectly portray teenage woes, self-discovery and emotional destruction with such relatability means that ‘Melodrama’ is my favourite album of the year.
If you enjoyed that then have a gander at our end of year playlist!!