It’s Her Melodrama.
Ella Yelich-O’Connor, aka Lorde, emerges from solitude with her second LP, Melodrama. The hipster teenager from Pure Heroine writes about her breakup, the loneliness that followed and letting go on the album, which was co-produced by Jack Antonoff. The New Zealander shatters all pop record stereotypes; from composition to lyrics, Lorde molds the pieces of her life into a heartrending compilation.
The album kicks off with the leading single “Green Light.” Playful piano under deep vocal dips mocks the structure of a traditional pop number, yet it’s hard to keep from toe-tapping through the song’s movements. “Sober” is a nod to hookup culture with blasting trumpets signaling the “rush” of a casual relationship, before the staccato realization, “but what will we do when we’re sober?” Youthful bursts play out on “Homemade Dynamite” and “The Louvre.” The 20-year-old basks in the glow of young love and returns to the brash nature of Pure Heroine by claiming a spot in the French museum, “The Louvre.” A more timid side of the singer comes out on the ballad “Liability,” as she sings, “The truth is I am a toy people enjoy / ‘til all the tricks don’t work anymore / and then they are bored of me.”
“Hard Feelings/Loveless” is one half tip-toeing around an inevitable breakup and the other slamming her generation for failing at love. “Hard Feelings” has quiet moments of voice and finger snaps much like “Royals,” which are then contrasted by distorted electronics and soaring violins. “Loveless” relies solely on electronic accompaniment as Lorde’s vocals stretch to her higher register. Next, she creates her own Greek tragedy and taunts in sing-song repetition, “We told you this was melodrama.” Harmonic strings create the cinematic flair, then a hip-hop-style beat emerges midway through the final layer of “Sober II (Melodrama).”
A self-deprecating piano ballad, “Writer in the Dark,” follows. The verses are light, the chorus drops to bass notes, then the bridge is a wailing falsetto in a bed of synths. “Supercut” begins with understated instrumentals, eventually building into a jolting new wave bop. The finale is a celebration of “another graceless night” spent trying to find “Perfect Places.”
Dynamic electropop highs and bass-lined lows make Melodrama intriguing and cohesive. Lorde penned her life and unraveled every emotional peak and valley in each song. It’s her melodrama.