Lorde - Melodrama

Lorde

Melodrama

85
Reviewed Jun 14, 2017
This is an album I have been looking forward to for over 2 years. Each year that passed after Pure Heroine released, I became more and more nervous for what was to come. From the work on the Hunger Games soundtrack that Lorde did and her feature on Disclosure's newest album, the music that was released by the New Zealand native was spotty and inconsistent. But then she dropped Green Light, the opening track from Melodrama, earlier this year. It was a little generic and sounded like almost anyone could have made it and it would have had the same effect. But it was still a solid song, something new and stepping out of the boundaries that were put in place on Lorde's first LP. The later singles showed that she had more versatile styles of songs to be in addition to the dance-pop that was presented on the first single. And now, with the album finally in our hands, the new side of Lorde can be fully experienced.
Lorde really can't make another Pure Heroine, and she obviously wasn't trying to. Her songwriting and structuring has matured significantly, with lyrical themes straying from teenage friendships and dilemmas and moving towards personal and powerful ballads that have more depth to them. Lorde's voice has stayed the same in terms of tone and pitch, although she does hit some higher notes that show off a previously unexplored range, on songs like Writer In the Dark.
Behind her top-notch written words and vocals, Lorde also does some experimenting with different styles of production and instrumentation. Pure Heroine, since it came out during a time when indie pop was a huge trend in the mainstream, really only had basic pop synthesizers and "alternative" production. Melodrama shows Lorde moving towards piano-driven songs (Liability) which focus more on her lyrics and emotional appeal. She still has radio-bait tracks (Green Light, Homemade Dynamite) that rely on synths and hooks, but some of the production also sports a bit of influence from hip hop (Sober II), rock (The Louvre), and genres that Lorde has already dipped her feet into, like EDM and glam rock.
Musically, Lorde has really progressed. She sounds like an older and more experienced artist, and you can tell that she actually took time on a lot of the stuff on this LP. Honestly, all I can really complain about is that this gets to be repetitive at times, and would have been better off with a little less of the overblown dance-pop type songs. If there was another piano song added to replace one of the poppy songs, I think that the distribution of styles would be just perfect.
I can't say I like this more than Pure Heroine. Although I do believe Melodrama is objectively more ambitious and has a wider appeal, Lorde's debut is one of those albums that clicked with me so hard its practically embedded into my mind. Past albums aside, I was honestly surprised by Melodrama, in the best of ways, and I know I'll be playing it all throughout this year. It's a great pop record that excels in all the right places, plain and simple.

fav tracks: The Louvre, Liability, Hard Feelings / Loveless, Writer In the Dark, Supercut
least fav track: Homemade Dynamite
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