Album Review: Melodrama

Melodrama, by Lorde

Lorde’s second album, recorded during a period of personal struggle for the young singer, was released a few years after the very successful first album she released, which I have not heard in its entirety although the album’s radio singles are familiar to me.  This album has had a few singles, one of which, the album’s opening track, ended up going top 20, but regretfully the singer’s pop turn did not go rewarded by many pop fans, who had listened to quite a few copycats of Lorde’s style over the past few years like Daya and Alessia Cara.  At any rate, though, this album comes highly praised and those songs on the album I have heard I have really liked, so as a way of supporting a singer whose music I appreciate [1], I thought it worthwhile to review this album and see if it matches with the hype I have heard.  Here is a track by track review:

Green Light:  The album’s first single, this album reached #19 on the charts but was unable to get higher.  It’s a dynamic and pulsating song about dancing alone and not being over one’s ex who is clearly over you.  It’s a song of longing and defiance that I definitely respect and that I can identify a bit too strongly with, I suppose.

Sober:  A spare and minimalist song, this song sounds like the comedown from a night where too much alcohol was involved or from a relationship that was doomed from the start.  If it doesn’t sound like a single, it sure sounds like a compelling album track with plenty of spaces for silence and Lorde’s plaintive singing and the eerie background voices.

Homemade Dynamite:  Another pretty spare song, this one starts slow and then moves faster as Lorde reflects on the combustible relationship she is having with someone and the danger that she feels with him.  The pauses and stuttering that Lorde sings the chorus in add to a sense of anticipation as well as concern, and this is another song that has a somewhat ominous sense about it.

The Louvre:  Another spare album track with Lorde singing over a very subtle instrumental, this song shows Lorde singing about another unhealthy relationship (or maybe the same one) where she realizes what is going on is not good and not ideal but where she decides to run along with it anyway because it’s better than being alone.

Liability:  This heartbreaking song was a successful promo single that cracked the Hot 100 and serves as a piano ballad of deep sadness as the singer reflects on the destructive patterns she brings to her relationships.  Sadly, this is a song I can relate to all too well, the feeling that one is a liability in relationships.

Hard Feelings/Loveless:  This long medley lasts about six minutes.  The first song is a spare album track where the singer is reminiscing on the past to an eerie instrumental track.  Loveless is a brief song with a driving percussion beat and a deceptively cutesy vocal track from the singer where she opines that she wants to have her heart broken, which rather takes the pleasure from it for those who would be inclined to do it, I suppose.

Sober II (Melodrama):  A beautiful but melancholy song, this tune shows Lorde gaining some insight about the patterns of her life and how they are viewed by others, including her erstwhile partners, reflecting on the melodrama of her existence to a driving song.  This is a song that sounds like it would be an excellent single.

Writer In The Dark:  This song may be a personal motto of mine, as Lorde sings over and over again to a partner that he is going to rue the day that he kissed a writer in the dark whose passionate intensity will lead her to lock him in her heart even after he inevitably leaves her.  Needless to say, there are some people who have probably regretted their own entanglements in my own romantic melodrama.

Supercut:  Another song that begins with a spare instrumental track this song features Lorde again playing the memories of a past relationship in her head even after it has gone.  As the track goes on it gets faster with a gorgeous piano track that plays to the cinematic elements of Lorde’s imagination and memory.  This is another song that could have been a single in a better world.

Liability (Reprise):  A beautiful and short reprise of the standout track from earlier in the album, this song is notable for the eerie pitchshifting on Lorde’s vocals that adds to the sense of deja vu and the way that patterns continue on over again.

Perfect Places:  The third (?) single of the album, this was a moderately successful single on the rock and alternative charts.  The song is a mostly upbeat but ultimately reflective song about being young and having fun and not wanting to be alone, preferring parties and meaningless sex to the pain that comes from isolation and solitude.

Homemade Dynamite (Remix) f/SZA, Khalid, and Post Malone:  A moderately successful single that reached the lower reaches of the Hot 100, this takes the original song and makes it a bit more punchy and adds some interesting verses from some successful rappers.  It’s a good track and a worthy remix.

It’s not going to come as any surprise that I think this album deserved better from music fans as well as Grammy voters, but this is an album that does not lack from appreciation from Lorde’s fans.  This is likely to be an album that ages remarkably well and serves as an inspiration for other people who reflect on the patterns of their lives.  Perhaps it is the reflective melancholy and desperation of this album that has made this album less immediately popular than its predecessor but if Lorde continues with her insight, she is going to have quality fans, regardless of their quantity.  This is an album from an artist who looks like she is in it for the long haul.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/06/17/writer-in-the-dark/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/03/05/i-wish-that-i-could-get-my-things-and-just-let-go/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2013/10/27/were-on-each-others-team/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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