Track #1. Green Light: Ahh, Lorde…leave it to you for such a breakout song right on the first track. This song definitely has more an attainable “pop” quality, while still mingling with the same kind of uncontained energy and excitement Lorde brings while performing. The idea she portrays is one of boundlessness during adolescence. Not to mention, the tune is quite catchy and definitely has a rhythm you can dance to. Perhaps the most “exhilarating” part of listening to this opening song, is the way Lorde matches the interesting image drawn with her lyrics of racing through green lights on city streets.
Track #2. Sober: “We’re sleeping through all the days”
Last summer? Sound familiar?
A summer adventure is exactly what Lorde paints in the second song of the album. She takes the listener on a teenage journey full of a certain kind of “rush,” an excitement that makes her “queen of the weekend” and lets you join in on the ride too. The steady light drum beat has an almost “jungle-esque” quality, bringing something primal and raw into this song, and the reverberating sounding trumpets are also a nice touch. In more than one sense, “Sober” isn’t even necessarily about drugs and alcohol more than it is “getting high” on the ride of life and living young and free.
Lorde invites: “Will you sway with me?
Go astray with me?”
This track draws the ears in until the very last beat.
Track#3. Homemade Dynamite: If a song could possibly be sensual and “flashy,” this would probably be it. A perfect tune that seems very appropriate for a the dance floor (for those of you who like to move). Lorde, yet again, highlights the many mischiefs of adolescence, all the while, still exposing the flaws in this sort of character as well. An interesting take: glamorizing teenage-hood, yet still acknowledging the faults many minors subject themselves to–surprisingly some, even knowing the damage they are imparting.
I think these lines describe it best:
“Our rules, our dreams, we’re blind.”
Track #4. The Louvre: A slow-paced, yet fast-dance song? Is that even possible? With this track, I am now convinced that it is. This is a good song to nod your head to, but at times, can tend to get a little repetitive. Regardless, the song, as a whole, I don’t think should be downcasted because of this, as the lyrics are meaningful and true to Lorde’s aesthetic and form. Generally speaking, this isn’t the best song on the album, but it isn’t a bad one to bop along to for those just ambiently listening to music.
(For those of you were wondering“ The Louvre” is a famously prestigious art museum in Paris, France.)
Track #5. Liability: Perhaps the “saddest” song of the album, not necessarily for the rhythm either (however, that too is at a slower tempo that is dramatized with piano), but listening to the sheer content of what this Lorde writes in this piece. Not only does “Liability” highlight the very real and relevant feeling of rejection and growing up, but it emphasizes the way the person on the “rejection end” might handle it.
“You’re a little much for me
You’re a liability…”
“I’m a little much for…everyone.”
And all too realistically, this is unfortunate and, well…”sad.” But “sad” doesn’t necessarily mean “bad.” The listener may get the sense that Lorde artistically has created this piece for a very specific reason; it’s apparent even in the way she vocalizes through the track. This side of adolescence–heartbreak, bitterness, and the like–needed to be recognized as well. And while the song may not have a “happy” ending, its authenticity makes it worthwhile and genuinely relatable.
Track #6. Hard Feelings/Loveless: I would rank this two-part piece as definitely one of the most interesting out of the album. “Hard Feelings” is set with an electronic ambiance matched with, by the end of the track, almost warbling vocals. This really emphasizes the take I think Lorde was going for: a falling relationship that she later almost makes fun of and challengingly overcomes when “Loveless” comes in at the last two minutes. The distinction between the pair may at first be difficult to understand and seem sort of strange–but strange in the best way. And Lorde’s lyrical message always stands out. Now isn’t that part of the reason we love Lorde?
Track #7. Sober II (Melodrama): Greeted with a snazzy orchestra at the beginning of the track and in between verses, the second title of “Melodrama” fits Lorde’s theme here (and of course, the album) quite well. As the song is a sweet blend of dramatic as it is having many allusions to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. So…”theatrical?” But, of course!
“We told you this was melodrama”
Even the inflection in which Lorde sings is slightly bone-chilling, haunting, and oddly abrupt at certain places; there is no doubt, this is a rather exciting piece of the album for the listener.
Track #8. Writer in the Dark: “Did my best to exist just for you”
Lorde really gets deep here, and the truthfulness and authenticity of this song is greatly applauded in my book. Not to mention, the simplicity of piano and an almost-acoustic recording really highlights her vocals in acapella and a falsetto chorus that is striking and beautiful.
At this point, it is felt that Lorde has been through her mischievous teenageries and “flings,” and is now grappling with the aftermath that was already foreshadowed in the beginning of the album. “Writer in the Dark” has a melancholy tone, but isn’t overwhelmingly gloomy. Really, Lorde seems to be coming to the conclusion that people move on and change is often unrequited, but necessary.
Track #9. Supercut: A supercut, in thematic terms, is a large collection of various memorable moments, video clips, and/or phrases played in a repeated fashion. With that being said, Lorde takes the listener back to a certain time that this beloved relationship existed, even though it was perhaps mostly “in her head.”
“’Cause in my head (in my head, I do everything right)…
Because ours are the moments I play in the dark
We were wild and fluorescent, come home to my heart, uh”
She convinces the listener of a somewhat unrequited love that still–nonetheless–was prevalent and important to her. And despite if you can relate to this subject matter, the rhythm and ongoing beat of the song is at least more or less fun to listen to.
Track #10. Liability (Reprise): This song most definitely exemplifies the mulled-over thoughts in Lorde’s first installment. You might not be able to help but allude to your own personal nostalgia of times in which you may have been called something that really stuck with you through time. This sort of imprint is displayed very discreetly here, in this rather glum wrap-up of a seemingly hard time for this artist. The track is undeniably mellow (perhaps a little too mellow for some), but nonetheless still an important, worthy song to give a listen to.
Track #11. Perfect Places: Lorde poses the interesting idea:
“It’s just another graceless night…
Are you lost enough?”
“Perfect Places” represents the general ongoing theme of the album: that is, the confusion, love, mischief, and madness that is most associated with a teenager’s adolescence. Nearly all of the trials and triumphs of the previous tracks are depicted, (oddly even) questioned, and most importantly celebrated. Teenagehood is almost seen as silly in this retrospect with the lines:
“Trying to find these perfect places
What the **** are perfect places anyway?”
The rhythm is most definitely contagious, easy to groove to, and the excitement Lorde brings is easily felt through her voice and enthusiasm yet again. Easily summed up, the echoes of the album are represented nicely in this closing song.
Some may see Lorde’s “Melodrama” as only good for a few cool pop tunes, but intermittently filled with several strangely depicted songs, lyrics, and of course, Lorde’s unique voice, however, I would note that one of my favorite qualities about this artist is just that. She finds a way to describe relatable, sometimes common experiences in life and relationships in a way that is completely different than what most would express them as. And…does different mean “wrong?”
Her interpretation shown in the way she writes and sings is nonetheless engaging and often, at the same time, catchy.
It’s a combination unique as Lorde herself, and when one really delves into the subject matter in which Lorde writes, it becomes even easier to appreciate this well-thought out collection of music.
Overall Album Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆