Released: June 16, 2017 (Republic)
Lorde is one of those rare pop phenomenons that pounce onto the pop scene with unexpected frills and… well, kinda forcefully tell us how she feels or what she thinks without any F’s given. Just like what she did with her debut record Pure Heroine; a starling yet dynamic start to the singer’s career who embraced the culture she was surrounded by, only to slightly manipulate it into her little world and serve it as an well-executed and inspiring musical release. Five years later, we get Melodrama, another knock-out record that follows a similar formula of production, but this time, she ain’t no lil’ teenager no more; she’s a grown woman.
And here’s the catch; for as mature as she was, there was a slight essence of teenage innocence that portrayed Lorde to be a “good girl bout-to-be-going bad” archetype; “Team”, “Royals” and “Tennis Court” were classic examples of this. But with Melodrama, she’s now a headstrong woman that reinforces her views with wisdom and courage; “Green Light”, the album’s opening track, is a pretty phenomenal piece of pop. I mean, when I first heard it, I was completely intrigued by the uptempo dance-beat and electronic rhythm without sounding too outside her comfort zone. Onwards, she follows a mysterious dance flavor on “Homemade Dynamite” and “Supercut”, two of the album’s main highlights. What I enjoy about her uptempo songs is that, of course it ain’t gon’ be some heavy club crap; it works within her own means and, to an extent, works really well.
But for me, the boldest moments are the ballads, showcasing Lorde’s powerhouse vocals and intricate songwriting. Numbers like the slick “Sober”, the Katy Perry Prism-esque “The Lourve” and subtle “Hard Feelings/Loveless” all examines Lorde’s emotional capabilities, and are conveyed effortlessly and beautifully from start to finish. Even the piano-stripped ballad “Writer in the Dark” is probably the most dynamic track here; of course, it’s standard ballad composition, but the main focus is her vocal abilities, all ranging from a series of high and low notes, without breaking or struggling to hold them. Bravo to you, Ms. Thang! But my absolute favourite is the “Liability (Reprise)”, a very dreamy and atmospheric trip-hop anthem that blends her vocals and production together without sounding out of place or broke. Uhhhhhhh, the feels y’all, the feels!
Melodrama is one of those records that can standout from very minimal aspects alone, like the songwriting or vocal performance. But knowing Lorde has invested her creativity and passion with songwriting, voice and production? My lord, we’ve got all the goods in one tight packaged! It’s a refreshing and inspiring batch of material that talks about adolescence and moving on into the adult world, but like the songs “Green Light” and “Supercut”, it hints the elements of the beginnings of Lorde. And, truth be told, Melodrama is a brave, bold and great example of growth by the Kiwi songstress! Ahhhh, so proud of being Kiwi Ms. Thang!
Track List (Bold means best tracks):
- Green Light
- Homemade Dynamite
- The Lourve
- Hard Feelings/Loveless
- Sober II (Melodrama)
- Writer in the Dark
- Liability (Reprise) *Liam’s Favourite
- Perfect Places