When Ella O’Connor rose to fame and took the world by storm at the tender age of 16 with her first single, “Royals,” she was immediately labelled “one to watch“. Later that year, when her critically acclaimed first LP, Pure Heroine, peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 chart, the world was most definitely paying attention.
Naturally, as these things go, the pressure was on for a sophomore album. Lorde, as the New Zealander became known to the public, took her time, but here is Melodrama, almost four years later, to prove the singer’s status as, “the future of music,” as David Bowie prophetically described her.
If Pure Heroine was a plea for youth to be taken seriously for more than social media abilities and general foolishness, Melodrama is a full on post break up, broken-hearted party.
In “Team“, Lorde confessed to being tired of getting told to throw her hands up in the air, so there, but this time around, on the first single and album opener “Green Light” she’s waiting for the green light to go back to her ex lover. In the meantime, she wants to dance like nobody is watching.
Lorde has discovered heartbreak and has finally seen the point of trying to drown out the world outside.
In “Sober,” Lorde is brutally honest when she describes a regular drunken hook up. They work like magic when they’re drunk, but what will they do when they’re sober? In “Homemade Dynamite,” she talks about meeting that person at a party that clicks with you in all the right ways, the one you could end up metaphorically blowing shit up with.
It leads to, “Louvre,” a song about the euphoric rush of the beginning of a relationship, when everything is possible and maybe, you might be the duo that gets a spot in the Louvre. At the back, Lorde concedes, but, still, in the Louvre.
So far, partying has been fun for Lorde. But as it happens to all drunks, she finds there is a wave of feelings ahead. After the happiness and giddiness of being at a new, exciting place with fun crushes fades, the sadness hits, forcing Lorde to face reality.
That’s where “Liability” comes in, a heartbreakingly beautiful account of being too much trouble to be loved. Lorde refers to fame and the baggage it automatically gives you. She blames herself, says she understands, when an ex-lover says he “made the big mistake of dancing in her storm“. It’s a quiet ballad sung with feeling, exposing the hurt that comes when the glitz proves that it really isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
“Hard Feelings/Loveless,” gets personal about being broken up with. Lorde explores the end of her first long term relationship. This track is made up of what are essentially two different mini songs. The second half of the song, “Loveless,” features the stand out lyrics “Bet you wanna rip my heart out / Bet you wanna skip my calls now / Well guess what? I like that“.
But this is where the night turns again and Ella (or Lorde) finds acceptance in herself for who she’s become post fame. In “Writer In The Dark,” she states that, “we told you this was melodrama.” You got involved because you wanted to.
“Bet you rue the day you kissed a writer in the dark,” is Lorde’s wondering what her ex-lover was expecting: she was a songwriter before she met him and she’ll be one after he’s left. “Supercut” is about the memories of the relationship that is over and what could have gone differently.
By this point, Lorde is a bit over this whole partying thing. After all, as she says in “Perfect Places“: “All the nights spent off our faces,Trying to find these perfect places, What the fuck are perfect places anyway?” She’s right. Perfect places don’t exist.
This is growing up: it’s fun and it hurts.
Lorde Melodrama is out now and available purchase on iTunes here.
Words By Joana Coelho