Lorde is back and bringing us brand new sounds in our mind with “Melodrama.” It’s been four years since the groundbreaking success of her first album, “Pure Heroine,” and already “Melodrama” has reached number one on the Billboard charts.

In a series of heartfelt tweets, Lorde thanks her fans for allowing her to remain her authentic self: “when i was a kid i thought big records had to be made a certain way- to be sterile and calculated in craft; that something had to be sacrificed/ i have had the divine thrill of disproving that firsthand, twice over.”  So, what is the magic of “Melodrama?”

It’s clear that the New Zealand singer has grown up over the last four years. Known by her stage name, Lorde, Ella Yelich-O’Connor was just sixteen when her debut album catapulted her to success with the hit single “Royals.” Although she’s always been an old soul, at twenty it’s apparent that she has grown a little older, losing some innocence. That’s what makes “Melodrama” so successful- it’s raw, it’s emotional, it’s melodramatic.

If “Pure Heroine” was the anthem for teen years, “Melodrama” continues the saga as the anthem for young adults- a confusing transition at the best of times. The album is instantly relatable, painting a myriad of visual pictures through sound- you can see the colours of heartbreak, solitude and loneliness just by listening to it.

In an interview with the New York Times, Lorde insists that “Melodrama” is not a breakup album, rather “it’s a record about being alone. The good parts and the bad parts.” It’s a cathartic experience, both for the artist, Lorde, and the listener.


The album’s lead single “Green Light” was the first indication that Lorde’s new album was going in a different direction than her previous one. With “Pure Heroine” she would leave the party at midnight, but with “Melodrama” she would be out long after the club’s last call.

In her slow breathy voice, she sings: “I do my makeup in somebody else’s car/We order different drinks at the same bars.” The slow build to the chorus follows the rhythm of a blurry night out at a party. When she finally bursts into the chorus, accompanied by harmonies, you feel as if you’re on top of the world- you’re young, wild, and free. But, as soon as she slows it down and goes back into the verse, it takes you back down to reality. You realize the party may not actually be as fun when you’re left alone with your thoughts. You have that moment where you look in the mirror and realize your makeup looks smudged, your hair is puffy- you’re a hot mess. It’s a testament to Lorde’s talent that she can capture the nuances of a night out in one song without sounding cliché.


While a house-party appears to be the loose narrative thread holding the album together, it’s the moments of solitude that are the most striking. “Liability” is a haunting ballad, a glimpse into the inner corners of Lorde’s soul. “They say, ‘You’re a little much for me/You’re a liability/You’re a little much for me’/So they pull back, make other plans/I understand, I’m a liability/Get you wild, make you leave.” Lorde revealed to USA Today that “Liability” was the one of the first songs to make the cut for the album. In the aftermath of her breakup, writing “Liability” allowed her to voice the feelings she had been afraid of: “I realized I had to learn to be OK with being by myself and enjoying my own company. That’s something that everyone has to learn when they come out of a long-term relationship, it’s a whole thing.”


If you dig a little deeper, every song, even the seemingly light hearted ones like “Homemade Dynamite” or “Perfect Places” have a depth that separates them from the average pop song. It’s the “Lorde effect” where every piece of mundane everyday life is turned into an audiovisual work of art.

There’s a nonchalance to “Melodrama” that works with the overall theme of young adulthood and self-discovery. It’s essentially a coming of age album, and many of the lyrics to the songs feel like conversations she is having with herself. She explores young adult rituals as an outsider but by definition, she is also an insider, partaking in social rituals like parties and nights on the town. There’s a dichotomy between the girl who wants the “Green Light” and the one who calls herself a “Writer in the Dark.” “Melodrama” is the safe space where Lorde explores these tensions.


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