Lorde’s ‘Melodrama’ Defines Her Triumphant Return
Adam Flores | Senior Writer
After a three-year hiatus, Lorde’s sophomore effort “Melodrama” continues her dream/art pop indietronica narrative. The eagerly anticipated follow-up to 2013’s “Pure Heroine” reflects the pop prodigy’s coming-of-age story surviving teenage heartbreak to her arrival into the solitude of womanhood.
Released on June 16, “Melodrama” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Evading the so-called ‘sophomore slump’ should be no surprise since “Pure Heroine” spawned the hit single “Royals” which garnered two Grammy Awards in 2014 in the categories of Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year.
Lorde released the aptly titled, electropop flavored “Green Light” as the lead single with accompanying music video back in early March in anticipation of the “Melodrama” collective. With a piano influence directly from Florence and the Machine, Lorde changes things up in her songwriting with a fresh, sonic approach. The track projects a range of memories and emotions reflecting her recent heartbreak.
The second single, “Perfect Places,” dropped on June 1 receiving immediate critical acclaim to include “Best New Track” recognition by Jenn Pelly of Pitchfork. Lorde relates the tiresome journey of trying to find that perfect place in life only to discover this relentless pursuit leaves you further away and more messed up than originally intended.
Lorde presents the perfect place within her new set to perhaps embrace loneliness.
“Melodrama” projects a raw musical sound balanced with modern production exploring an emotional solitude for the New Zealand singer-songwriter and record producer. “Liability” is an intimate piano/vocal introspection alleging, “They say, ‘You’re a little much for me, you’re a liability / You’re a little much for me.’” “The Louvre” elevates happiness within obsession and sacrifice in a relationship declaring, “I am your sweetheart psychopathic crush / Drink up your movements, still I can’t get enough.”
“Supercut,” perhaps the climactic pinnacle of “Melodrama’s” emotional rollercoaster-induced verve, brings to terms the album’s status as music you can cry and dance to.
Lorde began work on her second album back in December 2013. Even in its early stages, she knew that it was “totally different” from her first record.
“I think I’ve learnt so much as a songwriter, there’s going to be so much of an improvement because of that,” Lorde said in an interview.
While “Pure Heroine” incites teenage glory and its social implications of the immortal celebration of youth, “Melodrama” is where she shows us a new world and her welcome into the twenty-something epoch.
Within this new world, being alone can have its good and bad aspects. “Melodrama” attempts to sort through these anxieties bringing to light what a relationship may carry out and instill in us. Lorde’s own marginalization and relationship heartbreak is a story most of us can identify with. However, she presents a fresh way of telling our story of solitude.
Lorde is the third woman in the last three weeks to claim the top spot on the Billboard 200 chart (following Halsey’s “hopeless fountain kingdom” and Katy Perry’s “Witness”). She is well aware also of the music industry’s negative attitude toward women.
“I’m not going to accept being talked down to or patronised or anything, which I know a lot of women do get,” Lorde said.
“Pure Heroine” sold more than a million copies in its first five months, making Lorde the first woman since Adele with a million-selling debut LP and pop auteur. “Melodrama” has started off in the right direction mirroring her initial success as purposeful pop with its simple musical approach and lyrical brilliance setting it apart from the current hyper-produced wave of pop diva compilations.
Her neurological sound-to-color synesthesia condition may work against her but it also works to her advantage, musically. David Bowie once clutched her hand declaring that listening to her music “felt like listening to tomorrow.”
“Melodrama” is what the day after tomorrow will sound like.