If the Venn diagram of youth, loss, love, and vitality had a sound, it could only be Melodrama. The sophomore album from singer-songwriter, Lorde, was released this past Friday after months of built-up anticipation. Teasing four singles off of the album—”Green Light,” “Liability,” “Perfect Places,” and “Sober”— from March to now helped cure the craving for a fresh and refined pop album slightly, but after listening to the 11-piece treasure in full, the music industry’s favorite Kiwi is shouting to the world loudly and clearly that being only 20-years-old doesn’t make her any less wise.
Dealing heavily with the themes self-acceptance and doomed love, it seems slightly degrading to reduce the record to, simply, a harrowing recollection of a young woman detailing the story of a breakup while learning about her own soul, but it’s just that. Don’t let this fool you as another lame attempt to relate to heartbroken teens- this album is ageless and will earn the stamp of timelessness once, ironically, time goes on. So far from a cliché, it stands tall and glimmers on.
Speaking to anyone who’s ever suffered through the loneliness of seeing the one you care about with someone else at a party draped with balloons and twinkling lights, it’s brutally honest and poignant, yet somehow tragically beautiful at the same time. It’s the mornings spent giving yourself a good, hard look in the mirror, wondering if you like what you’re becoming, and the reminiscing of little things, like small trips to the grocery store with someone who made them magic. Though the album itself is incredibly cohesive, with each track meshing well with the next, the songs individually manage to tell different tales. No matter how lost and scared they may be, solace is easily found for young-adults through the entirety of this masterpiece. Wholly, the album takes the place of thoughts that this social generation wishes to fabricate but can’t find the words to describe.
Although her prowess is evident alone lyrically, Lorde toys with a plethora of sounds, from plucked guitar strings to dizzy synths, many resemblant in their complex production to Pure Heroine– though this isn’t a complaint. The main difference between the two albums is that the recent is inexplicably more vibrant. Featuring minute-long outros sans lyrics on both “The Louvre” and “Supercut,” she acknowledges that words aren’t the only way to understand a feeling. Booming instrumentals like these tell the story of lost memories, recognize the pain before the sting hits, and give your parents the need for a record like this when they were young.
An exhilarating dichotomy, the album’s emptiness is truly complete, and it carries. Lorde paints the picture of adolescence truthfully with zero frills in sight on Melodrama, and she reminds the tired heart that emotions are good and music heals, solely through her regal image alone. Her self-love is surely growing, and ours for her is too.
Editor’s Top Tracks
You can listen to Melodrama, out now, on Spotify below.