Lorde, The New Zealand artist was called ‘the future of music’ by none other than one of the most innovating and influential musicians of all time: David Bowie. Mike Garson, Bowie’s pianist, said “David really liked Lorde, and he felt like she was the future of music, and they had a few wonderful moments together”.
This was said before she had even released her sophomore album ‘Melodrama’. You can certainly hear the influence of Bowie’s erratic nature in her music, but that isn’t what sets her aside from other artists. Her haunting voice, the emotional obscurity in her vocal melodies and note/chord progressions are simply unmatched.
‘Green Light’, the first single from ‘Melodrama’, is a perfect example of this. What initially seems uplifting is thrown off by the eruption of the chorus, which creates a melancholic feel produced by the powerful combination of lyrics and unpredictable hooks that aren’t overtly happy or sad; a common factor throughout the album. For those who are now beyond the glory days of hard partying, be prepared for your mind to take you back to the times of doing your “make-up in somebody else’s car” or waking “up in a different bedroom”; it could get emotional. Much like the warbling, chugging, bass infused track ‘Supercut’, it is one of the most dance ready songs from the album.
‘Liability’, the second single, is far removed from the thumping, electro-pop rhythms of ‘Green Light’, yet it possesses the same hair-raising, chilling demeanour and seemingly reveals Lorde’s versatility. Not only this, it feels incredibly personal and uncannily relatable; an intensely cruel, devastating story of a young lover constantly being rejected and played: “They say, ‘You’re a little much for me/You’re a liability/You’re a little much for me’/So they pull back, make other plans/I understand, I’m a liability/Get you wild, make you leave/I’m a little much for/E-a-na-na-na, everyone.” This expressive and emotionally provocative approach is depicted in ‘Writer in the dark’ and the orchestral, trap-imbued title track ‘Melodrama’.
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Whilst almost every modern-day artist fails to express partying with real meaning and emotion, Lorde does it beautifully and effortlessly. ‘Melodrama’ is essentially the telling of lovers at a party and the leaps and falls of relationships. It is a brilliantly well-crafted electro-acoustic, synth drenched exploration of the internal factory of emotion – a 21st century masterpiece. There is a massive feeling portrayed through the spooky, unsteady vocals that every powerfully evocative lyric is the raw truth; something that will only make this piece of art more and more relatable and timeless.
After four years of work, Jack Antonoff (co-writer and producer) has brought a methodical use of negative space to the table, filling it with cleverly placed beats and key changes to send listeners into a state of actually listening. It isn’t often someone plays a song and pays real attention to what is going on, is it? Antonoff’s obsessive style of embedding ethereal strings, synths and clicks does seem to limit Lorde’s writing capabilities, however, this album is incredibly focussed on ‘melodrama’ itself; so perhaps there is more to come of this story in the future.
‘Melodrama’ is out now via ‘Lava/Republic Records’. The full track-listing for ‘Melodrama’ is as follows…
1. Green Light
3. Homemade Dynamite
4. The Louvre
6. Hard Feelings/Loveless
7. Sober II (Melodrama)
8. Writer In the Dark
10. Liability (Reprise)
11. Perfect Places