My first experience of Lorde wasn’t actually with Lorde herself; it was through a cover of one of her songs.
Melanie Blatt (of All Saints fame) was mentoring girl groups on the Kiwi version of ‘The X Factor’ and it was the harmonies in the song ‘Royals’ that made me stand up and pay attention to the group and the song.
Then I heard the original (several months after she was at the forefront of the music buying public’s mind) and instantly knew why so many people had fallen in love with Lorde.
After an extended break and recharge, she’s back with her sophomore album ‘Melodrama’ and I think she’s managed to capture a fresh and unique progression from the dark and broody debut of ‘Pure Heroine’.
Indeed, if ‘Pure Heroine’ was dark and broody, ‘Melodrama’ is a more positive reflection of her life as she’s grown up.
It seems from the press rounds she’s currently doing that Lorde has experienced life in the years since her well-received debut, giving her some different perspectives to share. Personally I feel like there’s a weight lifted and we get a better view into who Lorde really is as she’s grown up.
Lead single ‘Green Light’ is an epic tune that is all-clattering, all-conquering pop. The analogy in use here is a bit obvious, but I think that’s what makes it so great. It’s a drastic shift from the sparse sounds and angsty mood of her debut and I love it.
I do wonder, though, if Lorde might be a little crazy? It’s hard not to look past it with some of the obsessive lyrics featured across several tracks featured here. And to be honest, it works well without it feeling creepy or weird.
In particular on ‘Writer In The Dark’, she swoons that “I love you ’til you call the cops on me”, which is the best bit of pop lyric writing this year so far in my opinion. Who hasn’t been that crazy in love with someone before? It’s crazy and it’s fabulous.
If you don’t like the new-found energy Lorde has brought to her album, there are still lots of great introspective tunes on offer.
Pre-release teaser track ‘Liability’ is both sad and honest about the break down of her relationship. It’s all about the message and her voice – no trickery is on offer here – and is tragically beautiful.
My favourite moment on this album? The chorus on ‘Perfect Places’. It captures the essence of this album almost perfectly – lush, full of life and honest; all things you could use to describe Lorde. It’s a bit ’80s, it’s a bit rude (parental advisory alert!) and it’s a great anthem.
When you’ve had such huge success with your debut album, the follow up can be a challenge to get right.
But I think Lorde has done a stellar job. I also think many people will realise that not all ‘Melodrama’ in life is bad.
VERDICT : 4/5.
MUST LISTEN : Green Light, Sober, Writer In The Dark, Supercut, Perfect Places.