June 16th, the day of the Lorde has arrived and Melodrama is finally here. Four years ago, at only 16 years old, Ella Yelich-O’Connor captivated the entire music world with her debut record Pure Heroine. She created a soundtrack for the bored suburban teens but reached adults and children alike with its distinct and fresh minimalistic sound. Lorde has now taken these moody and anaesthetised pop beats and has created a mature and phenomenal body of work with her second record.
While Pure Heroine chronicles the woes of being a teenager, Melodrama tells the story of one house party, exploring ideas of love and heartbreak. Each song on the record never sticks to one frequency. Where one track begins with a lilting guitar, the next will end with fiery metallic beats. Its swirling colours and explosive sounds are a collection of heart-wrenching and dance worthy works of art.
Lyrically, Lorde soundtracks heartbreak in a raw and powerful way. “I am my mother’s child, I’ll love you ’til my breathing stops / I’ll love you ’til you call the cops on me,” she sings in a very Kate Bush-esque chorus on “Writer in the Dark”. Both “Liability” and “Writer in the Dark” are stunning piano driven ballads that truly make you despise her ex. Her songwriting leaves herself completely exposed and vulnerable to those listening which is what makes her music all the more compelling.
The emotional release of a heartbreak is captured in “Green Light”, with its joyous and distinctly pop piano chords and bombastic chorus. It describes the reckless feelings that encompass you after a heartbreak; the pain, the betrayal, but also shows you that it’s okay to feel vulnerable. On “Supercut”, Lorde takes the same theme and turns it into a vibrant and colourful dance track that relays all the good parts of her previous relationship. If you listen closely, the piano chords of “Green Light” can be heard twinkling faintly throughout, connecting the two songs together in its feelings of catharsis.
“Sober” and “Homemade Dynamite” are two songs that capture the emotional climax of a party. The hypnotic, disjointed drum patterns, the muted synths, the blips and clicks, they all form a scene of lovers dancing around beer cans and wine bottles, of people singing to the music booming through the speakers. The luscious synth score, the erratic bass and the pixie-like vocals of “Sober II (Melodrama)” is the aftermath of the party; It’s daylight, your mascara is smeared and your shoes are sticky with last nights alcohol.
“What the fuck are perfect places, anyway?” Lorde questions at the end of the record. “Perfect Places” concludes Melodrama in a captivating and explosive way. It’s a track that makes you want to dance around at midnight under the bright light of the moon. It captures the restless feelings of being young and the existentialism of growing up, encapsulating the entire theme of the record.
Melodrama is a collection of stories told through vibrant imagery and colourful sounds, capturing the complexities of being young. Lorde has soundtracked the electricity within the quiet moments we steal for ourselves, a lovers embrace and the jolting feelings of self exploration in a fresh yet distinctly Lorde sound. Melodrama is a modern masterpiece, and it if were a painting, I think you’d find it in the Louvre.