It’d be fair to say that here at RIOT we’ve been excitedly awaiting the arrival of Lorde‘s new record since it’s announcement way back in March… and we’ve not been left disappointed. Since the release of her debut studio album, Pure Heroine, in 2013, we’ve watched the New Zealand songstress blossom, collaborating with big names such as Disclosure, and sharing stages with the likes of global superstar, Taylor Swift.
Interestingly, however, despite the singer’s reputation for being wise beyond her years, the tone of Melodrama feels very different to that which we’ve previously heard from Lorde. Three years since the release of her last solo material (we were treated to “Yellow Flicker Beat” back in 2014), she is now twenty, and her experiences since that time have evidently influenced her recent writing, leading to a manifestly more grown-up sound.
The record opens with two tracks previously released in anticipation of the album – crowd favourite “Green Light” and most recent single, “Sober”. Teasing fans with a new sound, these tracks went down a treat upon their initial reveal, and the album is full of similar such tunes, interspersed with slower, more intense tracks. “Homemade Dynamite”, an upbeat song, is jammed full of Lorde’s trademark harmonies, before “The Lourve”, a brooding, electronic pop anthem, part-produced by Flume, introduces the more simple stylistic elements of repetitive guitar strums and pure vocals.
Singing “I am a toy that people enjoy until the tricks don’t work anymore”, “Liability”, the most heartfelt and sombre song on the album, is a self-deprecating ballad of abandonment and rejection. Followed by “Hard Feelings – Loveless”, the theme of new emotions is continued and reflects the progression of both the singer’s songwriting and experience throughout the past four years. “Sober II” is another slow, sassy tune, and is the track from which the album takes its name.
Featuring prominent, husky vocals contrasted against discordant piano chords, “Writer In The Dark” conveys a story of passionate, obsessive, dangerous love, the lyrics narrating “I’ll love you till my breathing stops / I’ll love you till you call the cops”. A feel-good track, “Supercut” is an upbeat dance tune, sharing similar vibes to “Green Light”. With an empowering beat, this song is perfect for the club, and conjures images of Lorde dancing down the street in that same pink dress.
Falsely suggesting the end of the record will be understated in tone, “Liability (Reprise)” is slow-paced and atmospheric. However, “Perfect Places”, the final track and a personal favourite, once again changes the mood, bringing the album to a serious but catchy ending. Faultlessly encompassing a new, more mature sound, Melodrama is a masterpiece, and here at RIOT we love it.
Lorde’s Melodrama was released this week via Republic Records and is available for purchase here.
Words by Kate Eldridge