Lorde - Melodrama
Pure Heroine was the surprise standout of 2013, so much more than just a pop album, it was art that showcased a young Lorde who proved she had a maturity beyond her years, on Melodrama, Lorde throws the rules out the window once again with another mature, beautiful and heartbreaking masterpiece.
Ever since discovering Lorde’s music way back in 2012/13, I’ve felt some sort of bond with her, we’re both around the same age and she really spoke to me with her music, in very similar fashion to her own inspirations Arcade Fire & David Bowie have both done in numerous occasions, she’s the weird kid that didn’t quite fit in, more mature than her peers but saw the world in such a different and interesting way. because of this Pure Heroine has such a special place in my heart, it’s one of my all time favourite albums, a pop record with so many layers and interesting lyrics that I found unbelievably relatable to.
This meant for me, I had ridiculously high expectations for whatever follow up would appear, as the many years passed between the projects my anticipation only grew, what is most surprising however is that she has managed to not only meet these expectations but exceed them substantially, ‘Melodrama’ just like it’s predecessor is full of nuances and sonic changes that sometimes only appear over multiple listens, it’s lyrics perfectly crafted with so many intricate details, the album itself spans the course of a party but the stories inside the songs take us deep into her mind and her life, with at times brutal honesty.
What I love most about this album and Lorde is that she doesn’t stick to conventions, when you initially hear that she’s created a break up album your mind is flooded with images of depressing and downbeat ballads throughout, however just like her fellow pop pioneer Robyn, Ella has fun with the subject matter, managing to create fantastic, wild pop songs with dark and often sad lyrics.
That’s not to say the heartbreaking ballads aren’t there, but when they appear it means they have so much more of an effect on the listener, Lorde is a master at shifting the mood throughout both the album and song, this is an album that’s meant to be listened to from start to finish and it’ll leave you at times both broken and uplifted.
The album begins with lead single ‘Green Light’, which is without a doubt an early contender for song of the year, it’s a strong upbeat departure from Lorde’s early material but somehow keeps her dark vibes, the cascading piano line creeps up on you before the drumbeats smash in, they will have you dancing wildly into the night, It’s immediately apparent that this isn’t an ordinary break up song, it’s a big F**k you! in the best way possible.
Melodrama is full of songs that feel like 3 track combined into one, ’Sober’ is the perfect example, starting off slowly with Lorde almost sinisterly whispering it’s lyrics into your ears, before suddenly an almighty horn sections engulfs you in the chorus, and then the beat completely breaks out and you’ll find our limbs flailing around with the song, meanwhile Lorde’s voice echoes around encapsulating you. The same sort of techniques are used in the following tracks ‘Homemade Dynamite’ and The Louvre’. the latter especially flirts with multiple ad libs, just wait to you hear the piano line mid way through, it’ll send shivers into you.
‘Liability’ is Lorde’s first and true ballad, it’s a beautiful change in pace truly showing her diversity, Jack Antonoff takes to the keys as Ella strips it all back and really puts her heart on her sleeve, the lyrics are intense and you can hear the moments where her voice begins to crack, it’s completely sincere and shows that she’s not just an ordinary pop star, she’s a true evolving artist.
The true highlight of the album for me however is the interlude for Sober (Sober II Melodrama), it’s as epic as Lorde has ever sounded, immediately the strings hit you and emotion overflows, it’s similar to that of Lana Del Rey’s cinematic anthems, the way Lorde’s voice is manipulated throughout is magnificent, it becomes almost poetic as it reaches it’s conclusion. the song itself perfectly positioned as the centrepiece of the album, it shows yet again how Ella can completely shake things up.
On ‘Writer in The Dark’ Lorde manages to echo Kate Bush with the tremendous chorus which see’s her pitch raise to it’s limit at a painful height, but it’s completely natural and a very raw type of singing just like Kate’s early work. ‘Supercut’ has quickly become a fan favourite and it’s not hard to see why, it takes a very unique look on a relationship and places it on a frantic, joyous beat that will see you analysing your past loves like a highlights reel whilst you fly around the room.
The albums closer is truly something special, refusing to go out with a whimper, Lorde turns it all up to 11 with ‘Perfect Places’, for me it’s her biggest song since ‘Royals’, it’s the combination of the entire album laid out in one single track, it’s an absolute banger which goes even harder than Green Light with deeper and darker lyricism mixed in, the recent use of choirs in live performances is inspired as it truly elevates the epic finale which see’s Lorde create the perfect call and response with ‘What the fuck are perfect places?” it’s a brilliantly profound lyric unlike anything else you’ve probably found yourself shouting out along to.
Every single time Lorde releases a piece of music or performs live I can’t help but ask myself, “how do you even top that?” and each time she comes back stronger with her talent even more jaw dropping than before, for me this is easily one of the most solid, comprehensive and just plain best albums I’ve experienced in recent years, it’s up there for me with her spectacular debut and I truly can’t wait to hear it live this coming September.