When I first heard Lorde’s first single from her new album Melodrama, I was unimpressed. At a glance, it felt like another mediocre pop song, but after seeing all of the Facebook statuses flood in praising the new tune, I couldn't help but wonder if there was something I was missing, so after my workout that day, I came home and blasted it on my Apple TV, along with the music video and my feelings changed. The breakup anthem perfectly captures the pulse of finding independence again after a romance gone wrong.
In general, Lorde’s Melodrama continues to follow that pop formula she's so great at, but it definitely goes above and beyond. The album tells a story and I think that story reaches every listener in a different way. For me, an introverted extrovert, Melodrama tells the story of the inward and outward projection we deal with. Some soaring, ambitious tunes are outgoing and throw caution to the wind like Sober, while others are restricted and introverted like the album’s second single, Liability. The album to me tells the story of someone recovering from a heartbreak and all of the ups and downs on the journey. Lorde is not vague in creating this dynamic. It seems that every color and part of the human experience of grieving and moving on is covered here.
Stylistically, Lorde does a wonderful job blending today’s aesthetic of dark and electronic grooves with a throwback 80s vibe. Especially on Greenlight, the synths used resemble 80s style synths and the chorus especially reminds me of all of the great power ballads of that time. I also think she does a lovely job of balancing electronic instruments with live instruments on the album. While the first few songs of the album are heavily electronic, the beginning of The Louvre contrasts that with its pulsing guitar riff. Of course, the electronics come back into play once the song takes off, but those moments of simplicity along with on the track Liability create an awesome dynamic and greatly contribute to the story of the album.
Another unique aspect of this album is that Lorde has a Sober II that follows a few songs after Sober and that she has a reprise to Liability. It’s really interesting that she chose to continue the ideas of two of the songs later on in the album and it gives good insight into the story she’s trying to tell. In many ways, it reminds me of a musical in that she returns to a motif with a variation to progress the story. Sober, a dark, sexy tune about backsliding and going back to someone who hurt you contrasted with Sober II which cinematically sounds like the aftermath of that and recognizing the consequences. The Liability Reprise, repeats the motif from the original song slowed down with some effects at the top and then goes on to discover that her former lover is not who he says he is. After the album, you feel that you've really learned something about healing, independence, and self-love.
Stream Melodrama on Spotify now.