Teens and adults alike have waited since 2013’s “Pure Heroine” for a fresh soundtrack to their moments of angst, joy and peace.
Who else but Lorde could produce an album that covers all those bases in just 41 minutes?
“Melodrama” follows Lorde through the manic energy of its first few tracks (“” on “Sober”) before cooling off into the grieving lyrics of the second half.
From that comedown portion of the album, standout tracks include “Hard Feelings/Loveless” and “Supercut.” Lorde appears more lost and longing than in the album’s hedonistic beginnings. The lyrical attention to detail follows through to the album’s production. The eclectic noises sprinkled throughout “Melodrama” make it an immensely satisfying, unpredictable listen.
At face-value, “Melodrama” is about the rise and fall of a relationship. But it would be reductive to say that “Melodrama” is a break-up album. It’s a glimpse into Ella Yelich-O’Connor’s mind.
Although Lorde refers to the omnipresent “you” frequently, this album is first and foremost about herself. “I light all the candles, cut flowers for all my rooms,” she sings. “I care for myself the way I used to care about you.”
Lorde is as vulnerable as ever, but she seems more in control of her destiny. She acknowledges her pain, but also her ability to write herself out of it. “,” sings Lorde on “Writer in the Dark.”
There are parts of “Melodrama” that are inaccessible, shrouded by Lorde’s self-admitted complexity. It works, though. Listeners might not connect with the individuality of Lorde’s experiences. But they can marvel at the unique perception that resulted in an album of such intense introspection and self-awareness.
Lorde has always made a name for herself as an outsider. But she’s an outsider with the contradictory privilege of critiquing pop music while simultaneously making pop music. In fact, “Melodrama” has some of the poppiest music Lorde has ever produced.
From the “blowing shit up with homemade d-d-d-dynamite” chorus on “Homemade Dynamite” to the “broadcast the boom boom boom boom and make them all dance to it,” on “The Louvre,” Lorde shows a proclivity for creating earworms that has advanced since “Pure Heroine.”
In “Melodrama,” Lorde continues to harness the power of the pop industry while simultaneously turning industry standards on their heads. Instead of peddling generic combinations of Top 40–isms, Lorde produces tracks so specific to her that they could never be mistaken for the work of anyone else.
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