Lorde's "Melodrama" is an exaggerated but truthful portrayal of her internal thoughts
Melodrama marks the New Zealand’s artist transition from teenage drama to the formation period of young adulthood. The highly anticipated album marks not only a transition in thought process, but also production quality.
I feel as though the best music comes from the sincere thoughts inspired by the heart; something that encapsulates Lorde’s sophomore album, Melodrama perfectly. It begins with the raw emotion of Lorde’s breakup with former boyfriend James Lowe. A mix of slow lorde-esque waltzes and high energy, upbeat favourites beautifully wind the listener through the story of her bildungsroman. The name of the album conveys the near farcical representation of Lorde’s problems through the polarisation of heart-felt lyrics and exaggerated, near-ecstatic rhythms.
‘Green Light’ begins as a gateway into the album, shedding light on the story of the past 2 years of her life since 2015’s Pure Heroine. Being largely about the artist's first major breakup, Lorde describes the song as being: “drunk girl at the party dancing around crying about her ex-boyfriend who everyone thinks is a mess. That’s her tonight and tomorrow she starts to rebuild. And that’s the song for me.” ‘Sober’, the album’s second song, furthers the theme of relationship problems. It masterfully describes the high of love they once had, emphasised by the metaphor of a drug rush, which is contrasted by the sobering up. Its lyrics are thought-provoking, causing the listener to consider the after effects associated with the zeitgeist of heavy partying: how the puzzle pieces don’t seem to fit anymore once the high and intoxication wears off. ‘Perfect Places’ continues on with the motif of drugs and highs, commenting on the lifestyle of partying as a dichotomy between life and death.
The first time I listened to Melodrama I was expecting something like the Pure Heroine I deeply enjoyed, and was a little disheartened when I heard the very pop-sounding ‘Green Light’. However, the album and its fresh style has slowly opened itself up to me, allowing me to appreciate Lorde’s experimental musical transition. It was extremely hard to pick a personal favourite from the album, because in good ol’ Lorde fashion each song has its own appeal, but in the end it was a tie between ‘Sober II (Melodrama)' and ‘Hard Feelings/Loveless’, which I think both wonderfully link Lorde’s old style with her new experimental rhythms.
Overall the album stayed true to Lorde’s heart, and the name perfectly conveys the feelings you get when listening to it; an exaggerated but truthful portrayal of the thoughts spinning around her head. The fact that all the songs are sung by her, and her alone, equally conveys that this is her story, and one that she beautifully communicates in a way no one other than herself can. Of course, this was no Pure Heroine, so if you listen expecting it you will be disappointed; however, I am excited for this new sound and think that if she keeps producing from the heart regardless of external influences, her uniqueness will always be recognisable and preserved.