Melodrama: A Review


Rianne Pada, Entertainment

Melodrama is New Zealand singer Lorde’s sophomore album, released in June 2017— four long years after her pouty debut Pure Heroine enshrined teenage glory. Lorde moves on to capture something even scarier on Melodrama: the mind of a young woman running on infatuation and heartbreak.

Melodrama starts in a hurry with Green Light— a pounding, angry, lethal concoction. “She thinks you love the beach, you’re such a damn liar!” is a scathing moment of truth, almost funny in its harshness and lack of context. A song about an ex is more about Lorde herself— “I whisper things, the city sings them back to you” is chilling and empty.

Heartbreak runs through half of the creature that is Melodrama; the other half is a mix of partying and new loves. “Every perfect summer’s eating me alive until you’re gone… [I’m] better on my own” on the somber Liability contradicts heavily with the rallying cry of “Now I can’t stand to be alone!” found on party anthem Perfect Places.

Melodrama wrestles with two whole feelings, blending together as cotton candy— sweet and sticky.

Lorde’s heartache takes on highs and lows— it’s scathing on Green Light but heavy on Hard Feelings/Loveless. The one-liner “I care for myself the way I used to care about you” reveals, again, how maybe breakups are more about you than they are about anybody else.

Lorde pleads on Supercut, “We were wild and fluorescent, come home to my heart”, a perfectly concise and vivid description of how the past often comes to us— in waves that seem prettier than they actually are.

When her composure slips into rage, it’s electrifying: “Stood on my chest and kept me down / Hated hearing my name on the lips of a crowd / Did my best to exist just for you” on Writer in the Dark is scathing and quiet. On Melodrama, there are no censors, no hiding behind false stories and fallacies. If Lorde has felt it, it’s there.

But when Lorde parties, she’s even more exhilarating. Sober is the kooky, mismatched aftermath of Green Light. “When you dream with a fever, bet you wish you could touch our rush” is a wink and a nod in our direction, showing us the party but never letting us in. She first explored camaraderie on Pure Heroine. The friendship on Melodrama is older, backdropped by house parties and “wasters blowing the speakers.”

There are scatters of sexual undertones tucked quietly in multiple songs. “Let’s kiss and then take off our clothes” in Perfect Places partners grandly with “Half of my wardrobe is on your bedroom floor” in The Louvre. In this way, Lorde explores young female sexuality nonchalantly, nodding at her habits but never apologizing for it. She doesn’t seem like a little kid anymore.

Melodrama is a giant, beautiful, chaotic gem of an album. For every misstep and heartbreak in Lorde’s world, there is a party. For every quiet moment, there’s a fluorescent one to take its place. With Melodrama, you’ll be dancing and crying, maybe at the same time. A tour de force of magic, Lorde proves that authenticity never grows old.