I feel like I’ve been waiting all of my life for Lorde ‘Melodrama’ to arrive. I know I’m not alone in this. Lorde has been living her life and taking her sweet sweet time to bring her sophomore album to fruition. Just think, her debut album ‘Pure Heroine” dropped way back in 2013. Let’s repeat that, Lorde’s last album was released in 2013!
Her fans have been patiently waiting for her, her frantic dance moves and that infamous claw to return and now the time has finally arrived. I mentioned a little while ago that there are actually quite a few fan favorite artists who were way overdue for new music.
I’m pretty sure most of those artists got the message since now Lorde, The Killers, Katy Perry, HAIM, PVRIS, and Charli XCX have all either given release dates or teased out new projects. Lana Del Rey is also on her way to new music but I’m still waiting to hear from Arctic Monkeys and Missy Elliot. I can wait, but . . . let’s be real I’d rather not.
1st Listen Concept
In case you missed my first installment of “1st Listen” last summer feel free to see my initial thoughts on Broods ‘Conscious.’ This series focuses on my honest first reaction to the work made by artists I love. Everything written so far has been prior to me listening to Lorde ‘Melodrama’ and everything after the line break below was written as I listened.
As a disclaimer, I’d like to state that I’ve heard her lead single “Greenlight” several times and I did hear a few other songs once during the live streaming of her Coachella performance but I couldn’t tell you what any of them sound like now. Okay, now let’s get right to it!
The Team || Production & Writing
Lorde ‘Melodrama’ was mostly written and produced by herself alongside Jack Antonoff. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Antonoff, he’s the lead singer and songwriter of Bleachers and is a fellow Jersey kid! You may also know him as the longtime boyfriend of Lena Dunham.
Together, along with helping hands from Malay, Frank Dukes, Flume, Andrew Wyatt and more they brought this album to life. Joel Little returns from her first record and Tove Lo even gets a writing credit on track 3’s “Homemade Dynamite”.
Track Notes || +/-
I remember when I first heard “Greenlight”. I was beyond excited to finally hear a new Lorde song! Honestly, the lyrics from the first few lines took me off guard. Lorde is one of the best lyrical talents of my generation so I hold her to a very high regard when it comes to her wordsmithing.
Something about “She thinks you love the beach/You’re such a damn liar” just rubbed me the wrong way. I quickly got over my misgivings once I heard the rest of the song. The lyrics pick up, the track swells and I find myself wanting to dance in the streets right along with her! Those few beginning lyrics don’t even phase me anymore – it’s definitely something that grows on you.
The beginning of this track pulls you in right away. Like 10 seconds in and I was in love! The echoed voices and the drum beat are so enticing.
This song reminds me of just being a young weekend warrior on the run. All these thoughts are running through your head, you’re going through the almost rehearsed movements but the allure of the night leads you back out again.
My first inclination was to just keep this track on repeat but y’know . . . I have 9 more songs to go. Haha! So far Lorde ‘Melodrama’ is much more danceable than ‘Pure Heroine’ and these first few tracks could easily make it onto a party playlist.
3. “Homemade Dynamite”
Listening to this track I think I remember it from her Coachella set. The chorus is incredibly radio friendly and makes you want to sing along. I can hear clear traces of her debut record here but the sound is much more layered and interesting.
There is a really fun moment in toward the end of the track where Lorde slightly slows things down and then makes an explosion sound. It’s a quirky little gesture that only someone just as weird-girl cool as Lorde can pull off and it honestly made me smile. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have new music from Lorde back in my life!
4. “The Louvre”
I really like how descriptive Lorde can be in her music. That combined with the mention of idiosyncracies like “I overthink your punctuation use” really makes her stand out from other songstresses of our time. This song sounds so unique and unlike anything, you would hear on the radio right now. There is a striking juxtaposition in this song. Lorde repeats “Broadcast the boom boom boom boom and make them all dance to it” over an anxious track that layers her voice and creates a feeling of discontent.
It’s not the upbeat vibe from the record’s opening but it makes an impression nonetheless and signals a shift in the tone.
This track was also released prior the full album. I wasn’t a fan when I first heard it. Oddly enough, I can still relate to the lyrics since I think everyone has gone through a moment where they were afraid they’re too much for others to handle. We’ve all questioned whether or not we’re good enough at least once in our lives. “Liability” has grown on me a little but it’s still not my favorite.
6. “Hard Feelings/Loveless”
I’ve decided that anytime Lorde interweaves her talking voice into a song I’m all the way there for it! Track 6 continues the slow down in the middle of the album but builds on the layered voices from earlier.
I can see this song being played in virtually any meaningful scene in any teen drama the world over. It tugs on the heartstrings and makes you want to do one of those slo-mo run and embrace moments from the movies. Somewhere in the middle of the song, an industrial screeching sound adds to the momentum and then drops before Lorde paints a rosy image of love. The song then fades to a stop before revving up again into a beat-heavy chant.
7. “Sober || (Melodrama)”
You always have to pay attention to an album’s title track. This song takes on a darker and a more elevated stance. It starts off referencing a party and then comments on society’s darker traits as a whole. It’s a “sobering” (no pun intended) moment on the record and makes you think about more than just your own personal life.
8. “Writer in the Dark”
Like, “Liability” this track relies more on Lorde’s voice and a simple piano melody. However, the lyrics are more distraught and the accompanying vocals showcase the strain and emotional toll being described. Lorde sings “I’ll love you till my breathing stops/ I’ll love you till you call the cops on me” and makes you feel every word.
Here Lorde signals that the upbeat momentum is picking up again. There is a similar sound to “Greenlight” here but it’s distinct enough to not confuse the two. You’ll want to dance when you hear this track as well but instead of running down the street like in “Greenlight” you’ll want to dance alone in your room with this one. Where the first track has a more defiant tone this song has more of an insecure throughline throughout.
It tells the story of you an ill-fated love where the dust has settled and all you can manage to do it run over every little thing you’ve done. You’re searching for an answer that isn’t there and deep down you know there was nothing you could have changed.
10. “Liability (Reprise)”
I prefer this cut better than the former “Liability”. It probably comes down to the more polished and glossy production. There is nothing wrong with a solid piano track but this continuation of that song speaks more to me personally.
11. “Perfect Places”
This song sounds like it was also included in her Coachella set. “Perfect Places” is a power pop punch to stereo and is a wonderful way to end the record! When you listen to this track you won’t necessarily feel the urge to dance but you will feel compelled to sing along at the top of your lungs. It has an anthemic quality to it that just can’t be denied!
Should you listen to Lorde ‘Melodrama’? YES.
Sophomore albums are never easy. Frequently the artist takes a few different routes. Some try so hard to replicate the success of their debut record that they end up delivering more of the same. Others try to smash expectations and attempt to craft music that’s a huge departure from their last effort.
It’s rare that an artist or group can find the perfect balance between a naturally maturing sound, the experimentation that comes along with it, and the expectations of their fans. It’s even harder to balance it all when your fans have been waiting longer than the typical album cycle for new music.
Lorde moves past her debut album without forgetting it altogether. Her sophomore album shows her growth and maturity while delivering a solid record with a tight tracklist. None of the songs on Lorde ‘Melodrama’ are filler and all of them speak to her own personal journey in her post-stardom life. Highlights include “Sober,” “The Louvre,” “Supercut,” and “Homemade Dynamite.”
This album is bookended by powerful songs but doesn’t skimp on the substance throughout! (Click to Tweet) Catch her on the upcoming Lorde ‘Melodrama’ tour and experience this record in person!
What do you think of Lorde ‘Melodrama’ and the highlighted tracks?
What album or single should I give a 1st listen to next?