Ah, the life of a pop star. Fame, fortune, endless possibilities, and as I imagine, an endless amount of romantic options at your fingertips.
I’m sure this life of fame and glamour has absolutely no downfalls. Having no privacy surely never gets exhausting, and endless money ultimately means you appreciate the little things in life…right? Regardless, there can’t be much anxiety in creating a new album. Nothing seems more calming and pleasing, than working day in and day out on the same thing for years straight right?
I think a lot of the time as fans we minimize art to the end product, rarely appreciating the actual process and time put into that work. We fail to recognize just how much went into the album, and simply judge it as we drive to our job, only half listening to the music while we ponder every single potential problem that may arise in our lifetime.
But when the end product is as remarkable as “Melodrama”, I think we fans need to acknowledge, and appreciate just how much blood and sweat went into the art. It’s easy to dismiss years of work with a listen, and to simply minimize someone’s life work to a “pop record”, but I beg us all to step back and admire how much of herself Lorde has put into this. The expression, heart on a sleeve, is a misdemeanour on “Melodrama”.
Before we talk about what you came here for, I have a quick thought. Despite the obvious benefits of being a celebrity, and the myriad of negatives, one thing I’ve always enjoyed imagining is the relationships these people go through. Not like reality tv style, but the real humans these stars date. Is Lorde’s boyfriend some pretty boy on the Australian coast, who eats vegemite and pets his dingo all day? Is he a fellow celebrity who surfs all day and only buys drinks if the bartender is a mixologist? Can a pop star date a normal dude, with all of the surrounding publicity and money that follows? If so, how the heck did the man have the balls to go up to Lorde at the bar and ask for her number? I can’t even muster up the courage to say hi to a girl who is staring directly into my soul let alone someone with the stage name Lorde.
So that leads me to my next question, if you manage to get into a romantic relationship with Lorde, and it is what an authentic relationship should be, who is breaking up with her? Why is she experiencing heartbreak? Who are the humans on this planet, who are breaking our favourite artists hearts? Who did it to Alex Turner, to Lana Del Rey, to Ezra Koenig, to Lorde. Imagine how scary it is to break up with a artist, let alone someone as talented with lyricism as the above mentioned.
Obviously most of us are curious as to this mystery, but like, my heartbreak anxieties go as far as seeing an Instagram story or photo I didn’t want to see. Or perhaps, at most, being led on by unwarranted attention. But all of my anxieties are so miniscule in scale comparatively, that it genuinely intrigues me. Just picture breaking up with Lorde, and then being like “fuck, I’m gonna get wrecked on her next album, I will be put in the dirt, and buried alive like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill Vol.2″.
Literally every insecurity you have ever had will be shot at you at 90 beats per minute, and probably sung by the entire world. And then the record comes out, and you’re listening, and you’re like “fuck yeah, I did that, she did that, I said that, wow I was a dick, wow I can’t believe she remembers that” and then you’re feeling angry and used, but then you’re like “but this song is actually kind of sick” so you’re driving down the Australian coast, crying and singing, somehow simultaneously, bumping a tune full blast because you love it, but that is also destroying your insides. You then message Lorde and you’re like “fuck, I’m so sorry about what happened on “Liability”, I never meant to make you feel that way, but that song is so damn good, so I’m kind of glad I broke up with you”.
Anyway, I feel like I could go on and on into this topic, because it intrigues me beyond reason. My post heartbreak blues and narcissism go as far as reading subtweets or passive aggressive jabs. Lorde and fellow singers, put their pain on incredible musical records and essentially tell their former lover to go fuck themselves on the biggest scale. “Oh you thought you’d forget about me, and you’d be able to move on? Hope you like 500 million views on Youtube, and endless radio play, that’ll teach you to break up with me”. End rant. That’s the review, hope you guys like the album. (Funny enough, upon completing this review, I realize there is actually a song on the record that kind of addresses the above rant..it’s called “Writer in the dark”, and it seems to reinforce the scariness of dating someone who is a writer).
Okay but for real now, I’ll make this one short and sweet, one because of the rant above, and two because the album is incredible. That one word alone should warrant a listen from you. Honestly, Lorde really knocked this one out of the park, as she deals with coming of age as a pop star. Crazy to think she’s only 19, but her maturity shows throughout the album, as she’s clearly grown and gained a lot of perspective since her debut “Pure Heroine”.
We embark on a journey with Ella(her real name) on “Melodrama”, from that initial feeling of question when you don’t know if you’re still in love, to heartbreak, to nostalgia, and of course to acceptance. Descriptive lyricism, paints a world as welcoming and engaging as a Wes Anderson film, and everything from the tone and tempo of the lyrics, to the melodic lines ascending and descending represent feelings or moods to perfection. (Take the ascending keyboard on “Green Light”, that for me, is a hopeful ascent from post heartbreak depression).
After nearly 15 listens now, this record has taken me to strange places. First and foremost, there are moments on the album that remind me of the feeling of freshness I recall when listening to Borns’ debut. Then there are moments where I’m listening to Lana Del Rey, or Bishop Briggs, and then of course there are sounds that make me feel like I’ve been put into an alternate video game world. Not sure why, but “Supercut” brings me to Rainbow Road in Mario Cart, and so the nostalgia runs deep with that song. It’s also a hell of a summer tune.
Lorde has range, and she’s dynamic in her arrangements as well as her flow and timbre. She ballads beautifully on my favourite track “Liability”, but then shows her genre shifting ability by allowing “The Louvre” to exit on an extended guitar outro. This is alternative pop music, if you really have to put it in a genre, but honestly speaking, it deserves to simply be categorized as great music.
“Melodrama” is accessible, fun, catchy, moving, and fundamentally powerful. It’s refreshing and exciting, sad and happy, and most importantly, really easy to listen to.
Lorde has captured what it’s like to be a young adult experiencing love and heartbreak for the first time, and to get an honest story from a vulnerable place is extremely comforting. It’s nice to know you’re not alone in the monumental struggle of love, and so the album goes far beyond a single song.
Don’t get me wrong, there are clear cut songs that I have favourited, but as a whole, this album needs to be played front to back. It’s not a musical work to be split up, like Lord Voldemort’s soul, but rather enjoyed in full. And so I refuse to create “Horcruxes” and split up this wonderful piece of work.
Funny enough, everybody I’ve spoken to about this album, has a different set of favourite songs, so I think that should speak volumes about the range and diversity of the record.
That’s all. The record is a masterpeice, my favourite of the year thus far. It’s fun, it’s powerful, and more importantly, it’s from our favourite 45 year old male geologist.