After rising to fame several years back with Pure Heroine, Lorde was in a delicate position where she had to follow that acclaimed album in a way that didn’t oppose the themes she established. She risked painting herself into a corner by taking an anti-popstar approach; the sort of persona that pop stars can’t afford to take. With her long-awaited followup album, Lorde doesn’t contradict her first album and she spreads her wings enough to grow her sound. Colour me impressed, she did it!
A house party serves as the setting for Melodrama where Lorde attempts to move on from her recent breakup by living in the moment (Homemade Dynamite) and meeting someone new (Sober). Each track represents a different point along the trajectory of the moving-on process. In the first single, the house-flavoured Green Light, she’s hoping for the signal that tells her she can safely move on from her ex emotionally. Liability is the stabbing disappointment that follows rejection due to too much baggage and Supercut aligns her current feelings with how she chooses to remember her past relationship, sometimes fondly but not always so.
The lyrics capture feelings and ideas that aren’t always apparent. The desire to move on but the willingness to hold on. At times, Lorde channels other lyrically dense songwriters like Regina Spektor and Tori Amos with lyrics that dig deeper than most would be willing to go, providing additional layers with additional listens. (Not to mention her writing about being a writer that might turn away potential partners on Writer In The Dark – Taylor wishes she thought of it first.)
She wraps it up with Perfect Places, where she asks “what the fuck are perfect places anyway?” An indication that there’s no such thing. It’s all an attempt to escape emotionally using whatever means possible – drinking, drugs, forcing a crush on someone new. In that sense, the party that served as the setting for the album wasn’t a perfect place for Lorde either. She’s still not over her ex. Her attempts to move on didn’t work.
Maybe it’s something that can’t be forced.
Melodrama is a natural upgrade for Lorde that takes her one step above where her debut placed her. It’s the type of progress that looks and sounds good for an artist still relatively new to the scene but who is already on a trajectory that will very likely place her far. On its own, it’s a journey that pairs direct lyrics with music and production that helps carry those moods and feelings through a crowded house party to somewhere more alone and free.
1. Green Light
3. Homemade Dynamite
4. The Louvre
6. Hard Feelings / Loveless
7. Sober II (Melodrama)
8. Writer In The Dark
10. Liability (Reprise)
11. Perfect Places