So many artists dream of having a number one song on the Billboard Hot 100. To reach this achievement, an artist might make sure their song has the best hook, catchiest melodies, and coolest video. All of these components sound like the makings of a great hit right? Wrong, just ask Lorde.
Back in 2013, New Zealand native Lorde burst on to the scene with her smash hit “Royals” at the tender age of sixteen. The single quickly rose to number one and stayed there for quite some time. The success of “Royals” is interesting. While it had a catchy hook, it featured, at that point, a relatively unknown artist and, it did not have a glamorous video. What I find the most funny about “Royals” is that it rose to the number one spot on Billboard by, for lack of a better word, roasting numbers 2-100. “Royals” is an extremely clever song, and I’m not sure a lot of top 40 listeners ever realized this, myself included( until I did my research). The song is critical of excess and celebrity culture, so while it sounded great to the ear, it also had deeper meaning.
I was never a big fan of “Royals” when it first came out. I found it annoying, and I thought Lorde was kind of strange and stuck up. I think at this point I misunderstood her. It wasn’t until I heard her next single, “Team,” that I began to look into Lorde more. From there, I delved into her debut album Pure Heroine, and now I can say that not only is it one of the best debut albums I have ever heard, but it is also one of my favorite albums ever. Pure Heroine was a masterpiece, and listening to it made me realize that I actually understood Lorde quite a bit. The album had excellent social commentary, honesty, and just enough teenage angst( remember, Lorde was 16 when she wrote it), but it was also so smart and mature. In the following years, I always thought “How is Lorde ever going to top this. What will she do next?” She had set the bar so high.
Well, now its 2017, and Lorde is back with her new album Melodrama. I had high hopes for this album. Let’s see what I thought of it in my track by track review.
1. “Green Light”
“Green Light”, the first single, was a great way for Lorde to kick start her new era. I liked the song from the start because it’s such a bop. The beginning is a bit slow for me, but soon the groovy piano takes over, and from there “Green Light” shines. As far as lyrics go, I really like the ones in this song. We all know what it’s like to wait for the green light-literally and figuratively.
“Sober” is a well produced and performed track. Lorde’s artistry is on full display throughout. The track sounds kind of sinister and frantic. “What will we do when we’re sober?” she asks throughout.
3. “Homemade Dynamite”
Again, I have to praise Lorde’s vocals and the overall production of this track. “Homemade Dynamite” tells the story of a party that got a little too crazy. Perhaps the greatest standout in this track is the flute-sounding riff that repeats throughout. The song gets a little bit repetitive, but overall “Homemade Dynamite” is a solid song.
4. “The Louvre”
I like how atmospheric “The Louvre” is. Lorde’s vocals in this song are some of my favorite of hers on the album. I like the subtle guitar on the verses leading up to the chorus. This kind of instrumentation wasn’t seen a lot on Pure Heroine. The lyrics are also stand outs, as they show Lorde’s personality. “They’ll hang us in the Louvre, Down the back, but who cares-still the Louvre” and “Megaphone to my chest , Broadcast the boom boom boom boom and make ’em all dance for it” are two stand out lyrical phrases.
“Liability” was the second track released from Melodrama. It is a sweet little piano ballad, with lyrics that I can relate too as they outline the feeling of being a burden. I initially really liked the track. It even made one of my new music roundups. However, as I listen to it in the context of the album, it’s kind of a low point for me. It’s a little bit too slow, and there isn’t enough going on . Up until this point, the album has really nice, colorful production, and then everything kind of slows to a stop once it reaches “Liability”. I’m not saying it’s bad by any means, but I wish there were more to it.
6. “Hard Feelings/Loveless”
“Hard Feelings/Loveless” is a weird track (or I guess two tracks) for me. The first track “Hard Feelings” is an atmospheric spilling of emotions. The production is good, and so are the vocals. However, I get kind of bored with it quickly. The second track “Loveless” is my favorite track in this 2-in-1 song. Melodrama is a bit more emotional than Pure Heroine, and I can’t lie, I kind of missed Lorde’s snarky attitude from her debut. “Loveless” gave me this attitude that I craved. Her lyrics are biting and she deems our generation as L-O-V-E-L-E-S-S. The one problem I have with “Loveless” is that there isn’t more of it! I would have preferred Lorde to build on “Loveless” rather than combine it with “Hard Feelings.” That would have been a great song.
7. “Sober II (Melodrama)
To start off, I want to say that I like the melancholy feel to this song and the strings throughout. However, it is kind of slow, until the beat drops at about a minute in. That is when the song truly reaches its full potential. The fluff at the beginning seems kind of unnecessary.
8. “Writer in the Dark”
I don’t have much to say about “Writer in the Dark.” It definitely isn’t my favorite song on the album, but Lorde’s vocals really shine.
“Supercut” is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It has such a light feeling. I’m probably getting repetitive by now, but the production and the vocals were pristine-again. My favorite lines are when Lorde repeats “In your car, the radio up.” Not bad for what fans are calling Melodrama’s “Ribs.”
10.” Liability (Reprise)”
This song is best described as a filler. It kind of sounds like “Hard Feelings” because of the chill tempo and atmospheric sound. Overall, while it’s not bad quality, I find it pretty boring.
11. “Perfect Places”
I did not like “Perfect Places” when I first heard it. I though it sounded like generic pop, but after several listens, my opinion has changed. Lorde saved the best song for last. I love the lyrics. “I’m 19 and I’m on fire” and “I can’t stand to be alone” are stand outs for me. I applaud this song for being the only song apart from “Green Light” that is memorable. I find myself humming it and remembering it the best. The other songs are good, but they don’t have quite the same staying power that this ones has. With “Perfect Places” I never have to ask myself “What did that song sound like again?” Lorde is the queen of closers.
I applaud Lorde. So many artists breakout with great debuts and then fall victim to sophomore slumps. Lorde had such high expectations to meet, and I think she did a great job with Melodrama. I always knew Lorde would be around for a while, but this release has validated that she is not a one hit or one album wonder. Melodrama is not imperfect, but I love how it showcases Lorde’s raw talent and uniqueness. Her strangeness is her hallmark, and I think it’s so refreshing.
I couldn’t relate to Melodrama as much as I could relate to Pure Heroine, but I’m not surprised by this-Lorde is now 20 and I am still a teenager. She’s less angsty, and she’s experienced more life. With that being said, Pure Heroine will always hold a special place in my heart, but I’m happy to make room for Melodrama.
My rating: 7/10
Couturely Sound ❤