Lorde’s “Melodrama” reviewed

Written by | June 24, 2017 20:56 | No Comments

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The day Lorde’s sophomore album “Melodrama” was released, I did not have the intention to listen to it all in one sitting, much less be impressed or moved by it. As a huge fan of “Pure Heroine” I anticipated an album full of pop hits, pretty much more of the same. However, when I laid down in my bed in the dark with my headphones on and hit play, I ended up listening to it the whole way through, left in awestruck silence for ten minutes after “Perfect Places” ended.

 

“Green Light”

I heard this song before I saw her at Governor’s Ball, and was admittedly underwhelmed by it at first and then it slowly grew on me, much like some of my favorite songs by her (“Swingin’ Party” (which is an absolutely lovely reimagining of The Replacements’ version) and “Still Sane” off “Pure Heroine”) and I think it’s because I found the music video very impactful.

It’s a perfect way to open up the album, automatically creating an atmosphere that insinuates that things, whatever those things are, have changed.

The structure of the song is set up to be a radio hit, but that’s not a bad thing. The beats and thumping in the pre-chorus are a fantastic hook, though the chorus itself is a bit weak.

As a whole, it sets the tone for the album with her waiting for something, reflecting on past experiences, and her looking to the future (“I’ll be seeing you down every road.”)

Track rating: 3/5

 

“Sober”

Another radio hit, no doubt. It’s easy to hear that she’s influenced by stadium rock and pop and she is able to make it her own. The sharp “but what will we do when we’re sober” paired with her soft lofty vocals create a really interesting contrast.

I love that she’s able to write about things like partying, drugs, and alcohol in a way that doesn’t necessarily glamorize or demonize it, but is simply truthful. When she’s singing about being the queen of the weekend, she is also realizing that “when it’s over in the morning” things aren’t the same. It feels like advice, it’s soothing, it’s sisterly.

Track rating: 3/5

 

“Homemade Dynamite”

This is an incredible track. The melody is hard-hitting, the beat is classic Lorde, the lyrics are fun and showcase her ability to stay on the theme “Pure Heroine” had, where she’s partying but introspective and self-aware.

“Might get your friend to drive, but he can hardly see/We’ll end up painted on the road, red and chrome, all the broken glass sparkling/I guess we’re partying” is a lyrical highlight, dark and sad and contrasting the vibe of the song, where she’s having a good time otherwise.

Track rating: 4/5

 

“The Louvre”

Absolutely fantastic. It’s instantly intoxicating, her voice dancing on top of a gentle instrumental and the chorus’ beat building (“Broadcast the boom, boom, boom, boom, and make ‘em all dance to it.)

The lyrics in this song are also great, showing her maturity and growth. “Blow all my friendships to sit in hell with you/But we’re the greatest/They’ll hang us in the Louvre/Down the back but who cares – still the Louvre.” There’s something about this track that feels like she’s very comfortable and relaxed. The way she sings, the way it is all within a very accessible range for her, it feels dreamy and nostalgic.

Track rating: 5/5

 

“Liability”

Good god. Another one I heard prior to GovBall and got to hear live. This song is heartbreaking, haunting, a perfect lovesick ballad. It is also about self-love and self-care, another theme on this album, as she goes home by herself and knows that the fact that she loves herself is vital, that she’ll always have that if nothing else. That’s something that all of us can take away from this.

It’s definitely a tearjerker. I can hear a Conor Oberst/Bright Eyes influence in it too, especially the lines “I am a toy that people enjoy ‘till all of the tricks don’t work anymore/And then they are bored of me.”

Track rating: 5/5

 

“Hard Feelings/Loveless”

The “Hard Feelings” portion of this track is smooth, perfect, and intimate. It’s hard to believe that she’s only 20 years old. Something about this song feels like I’m looking in through a window at a moment I wasn’t supposed to see. “I care for myself the way I used to care about you,” she sings. This song is a true act of self-love, letting go of a relationship that is warm and comfortable like an “endless summer afternoon.”

The middle of the track falls into really harsh chaotic sound, taking the illusion, the façade, of this pop song and turning it into something falling apart, not quite right, uncomfortable. It’s smart and one of the coolest elements of this album.

Track rating: 5/5

 

“Loveless”

I wouldn’t call this a song as much as I’d call it a snippet. It’s really cool to hear her experimenting so much on this album, because it’s the little electronic tune I never thought I needed or wanted. It’s nothing like the theme of reminiscing and self-reflection, but she’s saying he’ll want to rip her heart out, tape her mouth shut, after the breakup. She’s biting back a bit, she’s not being the bigger person, she’s being real and raw.

Track rating: 3/5

 

“Sober II (Melodrama)”

I hadn’t heard it before, but I saw her perform this at GovBall as well. It’s great as the title track, embodying true melodrama, reflecting on a party and the aftermath. Though it’s a relatively simple song, I like that she doesn’t complicate it and changes up the beat a few times and adds in new elements. It still feels expansive and worth listening to regardless of it being free of a lot of the bells and whistles included in other tracks.

Track rating: 4/5

 

“Writer In The Dark”

The best song on the album, period. From her raw stripped down vocals to hearing what feels like almost her full vocal range in less than 30 seconds, it’s by far the best song she’s ever released. I can’t even describe how moving the chorus is; it truly feels like she has an old soul inside of her—even her voice doesn’t really sound like her at that moment.

“I ride the subway, read the signs/I let the seasons change my mind” marks the moment it feels like she’s truly moving on and healing.

I’ve never heard a song like it before. It’s so striking and artistic and I feel like when I listen to it and close my eyes, I can see colors and lights on the backs of my eyelids. I think it might be one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard in my life.

Track rating: 5/5

 

“Supercut”

This is the perfect pop song. It’s by far the most successful song thematically and structurally on the album. When I hear it I imagine hearing it in a stadium, lights flashing and confetti falling from the ceiling. In this song she is revealing that all her best memories of her past relationship, the supercut, is not the truth and is keeping her from moving on fully. I’ve never heard a relationship be described in such a way, but the term supercut is perfect.

I think we’ve all had friendships and relationships that we hold on to because all we can see is the supercut. When she reveals that she was doing that herself, it’s a reminder to reflect and make sure we aren’t doing that to ourselves.

Track rating: 5/5

 

“Liability (Reprise)”

It’s really nice that she keeps going back to things on the album because it shows that she’s thinking of it as a whole piece, not just individual songs.

I love this track. It feels calm and it really helps to wrap up the majority of the album. “But you’re not what you thought you were,” she sings, and it’s unclear who “you” is, but the interpretive nature adds an element of mystery.

Track rating: 5/5

 

“Perfect Places”

Woo wee what a way to end things. It’s fun, upbeat, and doesn’t leave us all weeping into our pillows (thank you). The chorus feels a little weak, but that doesn’t really make a difference because it has a good beat and the verses really make up for it. “Just another graceless night” shows that even though she reflects on mistakes and mishaps that take place during parties on the album, she isn’t stopping, she’s just being smarter about it.

It’s almost like she sits in the corner of every house party she goes to and scribbles in a notepad. She finds a way to put those nights into words and then, more importantly, provide wisdom on what to do with what happens afterwards.

Track rating: 3/5

 

Lorde has written the perfect pop album, one that will define a generation, get people through heartbreak, and remind us of how resilient we really are. I feel like this album was written for me, for every girl in the world, for anybody who will listen. She has really given us a piece of herself, a piece so intimate and raw that it is sometimes uncomfortable to hold in our hands, but we need it and it makes us feel alive.

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