Listening Party (w/ my good friend @TomBejoy)
Melodrama, a sensational dramatic piece with exaggerated characters and exciting events intended to appeal to the emotions. Lorde's sophomore album certainly lives up to the definition of its title, being an album that will end up affecting your emotions as it's an excellent body of work that captures Lorde's feelings and displays them in diverse ways, delicately and destructively. Imagine a relationship as a party, starting with the preparation (getting to know each other), then the actual party (the relationship), and finally the clean-up (break-up). In a way, Lorde seems to use that structure for the album as the themes are displayed throughout the album and you can actually feel each and every emotion faced along the way.
'Green Light' is an energetic start to the album, with emotions flying everywhere, being about Lorde's first major break-up. She seems frustrated at her ex for always lying, lying to her about their relationship as he told her that he'd always be in love when he wasn't now and to her new girl when he told her that he loved the beach when she knows that he really doesn't. She wants to expose her ex for all that he's done, but she's too deep in love to actually do it, hoping that guilt would eat him up while wondering if he got cold feet when they took their relationship public. The vocals from Lorde are cold and delicate at the same time, sounding super unique and unlike anything I've ever heard before. The background vocals on the chorus are perfect, being the part of the song that stands out the most and takes the track to the next level as it frees your mind and you get lost in the feelings expressed through them. The piano instrumental in the production is subtle but spectacular with its sturdy nature, creating a huge effect on the entire song. The drums on the song really set the tempo, being tremendous and blending beautifully along with the counter melodies to create a gorgeous drop for the chorus. The theme of waiting for and wanting the green light is truly wonderful as it's a sign of hope and freedom or even a sign of wanting to move on as she waits for her love to fade, being a fantastic, fresh idea.
'Sober' probably has the best concept compared to all the other songs on the album, discussing getting lost in the highs of a relationship while ignoring the rest of the relationship such as everything that's falling apart, with the vocal effects additionally creating a drunk atmosphere which I thought was amazing, cluttering the song with a crazy, confused 'Night, midnight, lose my mind' that I thought was a cool, creative decision. The vocals from Lorde were lovely, sounding super drunk like the atmosphere of the song and sounding slightly exhausted, probably because of how hard it was to hide the negatives of her relationship from herself just to keep the relationship going. She claims that they're the queen and king of the weekend and that no one could get close to their rush, being way too over-confident as she knows that this won't last long in the back of her mind, being represented by the 'But what will we do when we're sober?'. The production is messy but it's on purpose to get that drunk atmosphere, with the drums being powerful and putting the instrumental in the back seat as the counter melodies that make a common appearance are amazing, sounding heavenly and doing more than they needed to, creating an outstanding, overwhelming sound. The pre-chorus flows so smoothly, being specifically passionate as she misses the highs of her relationship, which in this case is sex. The bridge is beautiful, reminding me a little of 'drivers license' as it's incredibly honest and sounds spectacular in its own way, being the area where Lorde accepts that her relationship is falling apart and that everything is not okay.
We get to the middle of the party, the place and part of the album where everyone is lost in their feelings, becoming an area where people's fake face comes out as no one is who they seem, covering their true identity with lots of lies and believing everything said, just so that they can have fun. 'Homemade Dynamite' is easily one of the best party bangers I've ever heard, with its sparky nature being stunning and perfect for late nights as the atmosphere created by the song is gorgeous, taking you to a party in your head. I love Lorde's vocals on this song, being super clear and covered with vocal effects at the same time to create something spectacular, sounding heavenly throughout the song, with the delicate, soft nature of her vocals being perfect to vibe to during a party. The production is quite simple but is still beautiful in all aspects as the drums are destructive and sound amazing along with the various wonderful synths that are spread along the song, with the glitchy counter effects just adding to how gorgeous the song sounds. The song is probably my favorite song on the album, being perfect, tied with one other song, with this song spreading some wonderful late-night vibes that give you chills. Everyone doesn't care in a party and the focus is on fun, like on the song, having a chance of being about meeting someone new too and how exciting it is to meet new people as you know nothing about them, with the process of learning about them being fun and fantastic as we're always attracted to people who are weird in our eyes.
I love 'The Louvre' because of how honest the song is, showing how it feels to be deep in love in such a raw way which is what makes this song so special. Lorde's obsessed with her crush/significant other, noticing the smallest stuff and sacrificing so much for her significant other as nothing matters more than him at the moment for her. We all have these moments when we really love someone with all our heart, fighting against our family and friends to defend your relationship or not spending enough time with them so that you can spend time with your significant other instead, while also observing every single small thing about the person. Lorde's take on this seems personal and like a past experience, as she even mentions, 'Megaphone to my chest, Broadcast the boom, boom, boom, boom, And make 'em all dance to it' which is to reference how honest she is in her songs, while people just dance to them without knowing how vulnerable releasing the songs make her feel. The production feels like based on an altered guitar instrumental, with slight synths boosting the effect of the song, as the drums (especially the kicks) play a big role during the chorus and post-chorus, sounding extremely unique to the usual drums used. The minute-long outro to the song is magnificent, with the instrumental used being an interesting and beautiful choice as haunting synths come along to help create a lovely, final closing to the track. Lorde stays away from vocal effects with this song, remaining really raw throughout the song which works really well to bring some important intimacy to the track while containing cute lines such as 'I overthink your p-punctuation use, Not my fault, just a thing that my mind do' which just adds to the mood. The reference to 'The Louvre', which is an iconic museum in Paris, France for art, was adorable as she says that they'll hang them there, near the back, because she thinks that they're the greatest which is something that you usually feel when you're in a relationship, like you can do anything.
The most personal song on the album is probably 'Liability', a piano-ballad with a lot of pain involved as Lorde sings about how people tell her that she's a liability, with her accepting that she is a liability hurting so much more to hear. Similar to 'Sober', 'Liability' has a spectacular concept, being a beautiful self-love song. Like I said, people around her and herself think that she's a liability so she decides to love herself, writing about herself like she's two different people, with her needing some love after her ex hurt her, going to herself as she realizes that she can love herself and doesn't need the love from her ex. The production on the song is probably the most simple, using a regular piano beat and not adding or adjusting anything else as the beat allows Lorde to let her emotions out without any disturbance. Lorde doesn't use any vocal effects, using her raw vocals to display her feelings as this is a personal moment, helping enhance the mood that the track is trying to create. Some important topics are discussed such as how fame attracts people who want to use you until the fame disappears and that when you're in a relationship, you're always worried about how it'll end which makes the relationship less enjoyable and may even be the reason for why it ends. The outro of the song is super interesting, being beautiful as she says that she's going to disappear into the sun, when you'd usually disappear into the dark, maybe being a sign that she's moving toward a more positive, brighter mind-set instead of loosing herself in the dark.
We get a two songs as one with 'Hard Feelings/Loveless' which I love as both songs are beautiful and deserve to be included. The first part of the song, 'Hard Feelings', is her singing about her ex, being about the hard (heart) feelings of love, because of a break-up. Lorde manages to build up the courage to go back and sing about her ex, being something hard to do, with her writing on the first part being absolutely fantastic. The pre-chorus is creative and perfect as gives me chills, being simple as it captures the relationship and break-up in the first two lines while the next two lines are about her needing to move on and to not continue to think about the memories. Meanwhile, the chorus is a play on the common phase, 'no hard feelings', which often follows the end of a relationship, with the chorus being a beautiful way to describe the feelings you get after a break-up. Thought that I'd mention that the way she says 'cold' in the chorus was cool. The instrumental break on the song is one of my favorite instrumental breaks ever that I've heard, inspiring artists such as Gracie Abrams with the instrumental break, with the instrumental break on the song being made up of magnificent screeches that surprisingly sound super satisfying instead of irritating and a decent amount of distortion. The outro of the first part of the song was outstanding, one of my favorite outros too, with each and every word used being excellent and capturing the beautiful pain of betrayal after a break-up as Lorde's vocals are some of her best on this part too. Loveless, the second half of the song, starts off with a couple of crackles and leads into a beat where the drums take center stage, as the bang throughout the song, with the kicks/808s being especially excellent. Loveless is one of the most pleasant moments of the album, being simple as it gets straight to the point with the message, announcing that we're part of a loveless generation which I honestly think is true. We've learnt to love ourselves and not need anyone else, being the biggest reason for why we've turned to into a loveless generation. Plus, people prefer having one-night stands than using their energy to get to know another person as it's such a long process where you can end up getting lost on the way, with the risk just not being worth it when you already love someone, yourself, and can still hook-up with people you're attracted to if you ever need to. Lorde sounds really childish on this half, opposite of her mature personality on the first half, telling her ex that she's going to ruin his life but writing about him in her songs which adds to the childish attitude that she seems to be going for. The two halves seems to have a connection, with the first half being about Lorde digging through the past to talk about her ex, which must've been tough to do like I mentioned, which is why the second half is also present, being there to help her heal as she makes the bold claim that we're living in a loveless generation where she's not the only one who's not able to find love and that there are others too, being used to comfort her.
Lorde has been extremely mature throughout the album, which was something that really helped enhance the entire album with the title track or part 2 to 'Sober' being perfect for a title track as it's the most mature track on the album (representing how mature Lorde is) and mentions the word, 'melodrama', throughout the song. The song picks up from the morning after 'Sober', with Lorde answering the question she asked near the end, "Can you feel it?", by saying that she does feel it and that she feels psycho high. The songs starts off with some strong use of strings, then as the strings stop, they bring in a delicate piano instrumental, with the strings and piano instrumentals both colliding with each other later in the song, sounding excellent and only becoming better when it drops, with the drums hitting hard at all the right places, creating a cinematic, beautiful beat. Lorde is cleaning up the champagne glasses from the previous night, being a subtle but gorgeous sign to represent the work needed to move on after a relationship ends. Lorde sings with her whisper-like vocals near the end of the song, repeating the same two lines until the end of the song, forming a fantastic, haunting outro. Lorde understands the tension between two people that have broken up with each other, singing about how people will talk about how they 'kissed and killed each other', being about how she's writing about her ex to bring him down, emphasized on the upcoming track, 'Writer In the Dark'.
I know I just said that I loved how mature Lorde was on the album, but 'Writer In the Dark' is probably the most immature song on the album by far but it's still certainly stunning. Lorde's emotions are at an extreme on the song as you can clearly hear each and every emotion, with emotions such as pain and pleasure shining through even though they are both a contrast, being equally beautiful. Lorde assumes that her ex regrets kissing a 'writer in the dark', which is her, as she's singing about her relationship for millions of people to listen to. She uses her whining-like vocals on the chorus of the song, which is something that I could see being annoying for plenty of people but I find it magnificent, representing how much she loves him, which is obviously a great amount, telling him that she'll love him until he calls the cops on her. The satisfying part of the song is the last two lines of the chorus, where she claims that she found a way to be without her significant other, being what she calls a secret power which I thought super cute. The production uses a deep piano instrumental, similar to how they used a piano instrumental on 'Liability', with the piano instrumental seeming to pick up the pace on the chorus, with some really good, royal synths coming in towards the end of the song, being an excellent touch to the track, allowing her vocals to shine as this is another big personal moment on the album, where she seems to tell her significant other one last time that she loves him.
Lorde's moved on, but she's got to face the memories of her relationship now, which is surprisingly a touch stage if you didn't know. She sings about playing supercuts in her head, with a supercut being a complication of short clips that are usually used to collect many memories, with her choosing to replay the happy moments she shared with her ex which made her wish that she didn't fight with her ex for the mistakes he made, leading to a break-up, and wished that she had instead forgiven him so that they could create more memorable moments like the ones she's thinking of right now. In this process, she also realizes that she's only playing back the positive parts of the relationship and not playing out the real relationship, which was much more bumpy than the supercuts in her head show, helping her slowly stop playing the supercuts in her head. The production of the song is lead by beautiful, groovy drums that are present along with a gorgeous, glitchy instrumental that's quite fast-paced. The pre-chorus is so catchy, with its bouncy nature created by amazing kicks/808s being perfect for late-nights. She talks about turning the radio up on the pre-chorus, another supercut, which was done in this case so that they won't have to have a conversation about their failing relationship. Lorde uses alliteration in an amazing way in the second verse while talking about the supercuts of her time during tour, being one of the underrated moments of the track. Right before the outro, the drums cut out along with the main instrumental, being replaced by a simple piano instrumental and with Lorde's vocal effects being taken off as you can hear a completely raw Lorde sing her heart out, bringing tears to my eye before everything returns for one last time along with some stunning background vocals which are also provided by Lorde. The outro of the song is long but lovely, with the instrumental in the background giving me an image of the supercuts in Lorde's head slowly disappearing while the sparkly nature of the counter-melodies being the glitter to the beat and being the part that takes the outro to the next level, sounding absolutely gorgeous.
We get a reprise for a song that completely deserved one, 'Liability', as that was the song where she and the people around her labelled her a 'liability', without really thinking things through. The song obviously uses the same tune, but has different lyrics, as she makes seem so much more positive this time, seeming to have taken time to think and asked herself if that's who she really thought she was. The outcome of that was Lorde realizing that she was wrong about who she thought she was, asking the people who labelled her a liability on what they were going to do while telling them that she has so much more to offer and that they don't know what she's going through at the moment. Near the end of the verse, she chooses to not put all the blame on those people who called her a 'liability' and shifts it on the party, which is the relationship as I explained before, and that it isn't any specific person's fault. The production of the song is simple like 'Liability' although a little more layered as a synthesizer serves as the main instrumental while drums that sound decent appear along the song to set a relaxing mood to the track. Lorde's vocals are strained, probably because of all the pain she's faced to get to this point, the point where she realizes that there's no such thing as perfect. The outro is moving and like I said, Lorde realizes that she was wrong and that she's not who she thought she was, not actually being a liability, forming a fantastic outro as there isn't anything more we could've asked for.
'Perfect Places', my favorite track tied with 'Homemade Dynamite' is one of my favorite outros ever probably. The song is about wanting to go to perfect places, using drugs and sex to get there which I thought was a pretty cool concept. The song is written in such a wonderful way, with each line having way deeper meanings behind them such as 'Every night, I live and die' and 'Spill my guts beneath the outdoor light'. The pre-chorus flows so smoothly, like some of the other pre-choruses on the album, setting up for a stunning drop and I'm so glad that it wasn't taken out like Lorde initially planned. The chorus is an example of a chorus that gets you yelling along as soon as you hear it, being built for a wild and wonderful concert or even for the dance floor of a cruise, where I actually heard the song initially. The production of the song uses spectacular drums while a wonderful instrumental sets the background, with really good rough synthesizers entering the song at random moments. Lorde's vocals sound young and alive, as they're layered to sound like a bunch of kids singing along on the chorus, being absolutely amazing as she captures the entire party with just her own vocals and nothing else, blowing me away. Like the last three tracks, the outro of the song is tremendous as everything is excellent, including the lyrics, vocals and production. Lorde wants to know what are actually perfect places as she realizes that the drugs and sex are just destructive and lead to nowhere perfect, plus they're only temporary, bringing the dark side of people often. I find it funny when Lorde says that there's no such thing as a perfect place, when this is a song that makes any place, a perfect place.
Lorde, an artist from New Zealand and has taken over the world with her music, comes back to drop a memorable, magnificent album. Melodrama is magical, being a beautiful step forward from her debut album as she's seems to have gotten more mature in all aspects. Her music has the ability to light up a room and transform it to a party, with all the songs containing a crazy amount of extreme emotion, capturing and throwing us into her world as we learn the same lessons that she learnt. You may think that you're a liability but that's not true, we all are special in some way and there's always somebody that loves you. I went to sleep everyday for a week listening to this and it's an exquisite and excellent experience, a must-listen.
Cover Art- 10/10
Thank you @TomBejoy, @thewayiam, and @cold for recommending what has become one of my favorite pop albums of all time!