Melodrama Ushers in a New Era of Lorde

By Trinity Tunstall

Father Ryan High School

After the four-year hiatus following her freshman album, Lorde delivered an album that cannot disappoint. Melodrama is teeming with youthful excitement and distress. This star has grown as an artist but stays near to her artistic roots. Melodrama is not Lorde reinvented, but Lorde’s sound reborn in a new place and time.

The release of Pure Heroine (2013) rearranged the landscape of the pop/alternative world entirely. With it, Lorde stripped preconceptions of the genres and rewrote what it meant to be a popstar in the 2010s. Lady Gaga once referred to the album as one of “THE albums of 2013”. In the industry, it was simply refreshing to have a young artist being so vulnerable and real with listeners. People were drawn to her authenticity, her relatability, and her accessibility.

Rolling Stone raved, “The album was so self-possessed, so in control, so knowing, that, fairly, or not, Lorde was hailed far and wide as pop’s antidote to its own artifice… She wielded influence far beyond her years. She was, in other words, ‘the real deal’”. With accolades from such heavy hitters, it was clear through both the content and sales of Pure Heroine that this suburban teen had stumbled on a true fledgling masterpiece.

In Melodrama, the adolescent popstar lives up to the standard set in 2013 and fulfills her potential as an artist. With the release of her first album and subsequent rise to fame at the mere age of 16, Lorde has managed to stay considerably level-headed, and it’s reflected in her music. The latest album is equally honest, equally baring, and more mature than the last.

Where Pure Heroine offers all the angst and passion of a teenage girl both lyrically and sonically, Lorde’s new work delivers all that plus the wild emotions of a newly heartbroken young adult. With the help of new co-producer/co-writer Jack Antonoff, Lorde strays from the more alternative sound of her previous album and veers towards electric-pop sounds creating a partying atmosphere.

With her three singles from the album, Lorde gives a full scope of Melodrama’s overarching mood. Her first single and the opening track off this album, “Green Light,” lyrically gives fans an introduction into the story of heartbreak that is revealed more and more as the album progresses. Musically, the song maintains an up-tempo, energizing sound. Contrasting the highs of the melody with the grief hidden in the lyrics, denotes the pendulum of emotions that are being conveyed on the record.

In the album’s second single “Liability,” Lorde bares all. With this track, Lorde tackles the loneliness and emptiness associated with her breakup. The vocals on this song are shaken and raw demonstrating a fearless and gut-wrenching realness emblematic of Lorde’s style.

“Perfect Places” closes the album as the third single. This one could easily be considered the anthem of the new era of Lorde. Upbeat rhythms, electronic melodies, and lyrics that define the singer/songwriter’s personal and current experiences seamlessly encapsulate Lorde as in artist in 2017.

In the span of just two albums, Lorde has been awarded top five spots on the Billboard 200 chart for both of her records with Pure Heroine debuting and peaking at No. 3 and Melodrama debuting and peaking at No. 1. Lorde’s progression up the Billboard chart demonstrates clear growth in skill and in appeal from audiences. Melodrama, as a whole, seems to be the continuation of not only Lorde’s musical evolution but also her success as an artist.