Lorde has showcased her candid ingenuity for the masses once again with her second full-length, and latest classic, Melodrama. After a four year intermission from her first release, Pure Heroine, Lorde has returned with another genre-defining gem. In classic Lorde fashion, minimalism plays its role accordingly, but this time with a much more complex maturity. Jack Antonoff of Bleachers lends his artistry in production enveloping the record in silky intonation. Melodrama is full of unapologetically authentic tracks that make you feel as if you’re basking in this luxuriant reality alongside her. The lyricism is direct with the amiable intimacy of a love-letter and the familiarity of a friend.
Resilient first single “Green Light” reels with the intensity of heated sentiments left unmentioned to a party no longer involved while being shrouded in a danceable ensemble. Although, one might overlook the intrinsic punch lines without further examining the complexity of the framework itself. Lorde’s ability to continually challenge song structure in a genre generally confined to one simple outline is praiseworthy. Continuing this custom, “Sober” introduces us to the familiar party scene magnified underneath a different lens. The morning-after debate of, ‘Are we in love or was it the drugs?’ holds precedence in this stumbling narrative. A little later on in the record, “Sober II (Melodrama)” calls back to the party in a dark, post-celebration manner. The eerie afterglow of party guests passed out in dim corners surrounded by empty champagne glasses. When they leave in the morning, you’re left with the mess. ‘All the glamour and the trauma.’
Rewinding the tape to the beginning of the party, “Homemade Dynamite” reveals the first signs of lust before the destruction. Delicate vocal patterns highlight the irony in statements such as, ‘I’ll give you my best side, tell you all my best lies. Yeah, awesome right?’ and, ‘We’ll end up painted on the road, red and chrome, all the broken glass sparkling, I guess we’re partying.’ Radiating with luminescent innocence, “The Louvre” strikes a nerve with every nostalgia-laced moment. This track sounds like pure, totally naive, but utterly real love. The simplicity of every build and lyric flow together in perfect harmony.
Lorde opens up about the effects of fame on people she cares about in “Liability.” It’s a sudden change of pace into a spiral of vivid sadness. There’s a mature understanding of why these people keep leaving once the novelty wears off mixed with a few drops of self-depreciation along the way. There’s an ongoing theme of trying to encapsulate how, ‘Every perfect summer’s eating me alive,’ for better or for worse in all of her work. Stripped down to merely basics, Lorde’s vocals take the lead, allowing the lyrics to dance in the spotlight. “Liability (Reprise)” revisits this idea of being a burden, yet lifts the weight off her own shoulders by reminding herself, ‘You’re not what you thought you were.’
Reinvention is starkly apparent on Melodrama weaved in through its many different aspects. Whether it’s in the absence of blame or her surrender to self-love, the realization that maybe no one’s at fault comes into light. ‘I care for myself the way I used to care about you.’ Even in the midst of moving on, there are always moments of bittersweet remembrance. ‘We were wild and fluorescent, come home to my heart.’ Letting go is an intricate process when that version of life becomes all that you know. Maybe we’re all just searching for these perfect places, but, ‘What the fuck are perfect places anyway?’
Lorde has captured lightning in a mosaic of perfect moments with Melodrama. With every additional listen you’re still only scratching the surface of a masterpiece.