By Gurman Sahota, June 16, 2017 —
After bursting onto the music scene in meteoric fashion in 2013 with her debut, Pure Heroine, Lorde returns with Melodrama. Embracing a downcast pop aesthetic akin to her first album, Lorde takes the tattered remains of a lovelorn relationship and turns heartsickness on its head.
The album starts with the lead single “Green Light,” a song that makes use of a heavy chorus and all-encompassing instrumentals. This isn’t indicative of the rest of the tracks, which vary from stripped down acoustics to bangers begging to be remixed into club music to heartbreaking ballads.
Lorde flexes her powerful voice, but her lyrics have rough edges. “Liability” is one of the best songs on the album because of its scathing and honest words amid relatively simple background music. “Hard Feelings/Loveless” follows, making it difficult not to feel your own heart breaking. The song features gratuitous instrumentals and electronic accompaniment as Lorde’s vocals flutter in and out of the track.
The album ends on the same cathartic note as her prior album. “Perfect Places” starts off slowly with emphasis on an overshadowing beat and background singers. The song’s choral effect ties up the themes of sorrow, leaving listeners with healing wounds.
Melodrama is a series of letters dedicated to a dead relationship, acknowledging that the effort exerted isn’t always equal from all parties involved. The way that each song shifts focus from Lorde’s vocals to honing in focus on the diverse instrumentals is refreshing — she gives you a reprieve from your feelings when the lyrics pause for a few moments in each track.
There was the risk that Melodrama would not live up to Pure Heroine’s success and though the wait was long, Lorde did not disappoint. Each song is carefully crafted, making use of her strengths in producing the work and understanding that her scratchy, almost operatic voice can be utilized in more than just an electro-pop setting.
This is not an album to listen to if you’re already emotionally compromised — you’ll most likely end up crying in your beat-up car while you’re driving to work. Perhaps that’s the point — to be melodramatic with Melodrama.