Tribute to Lorde’s Melodrama

By: Patricia Kusumaningtyas |

It’s been two years since Lorde’s Melodrama and the magic hasn’t worn off. The 2017 album charted on top of many end-of-year lists and, most importantly, resonated with its listeners. Lorde (a.k.a. Ella Yelich-O’Connor) has been making sincere, confessional music since her 2013 release, Pure Heroine. She worked on multiple side projects since then, including curating the soundtrack for the third Hunger Games film. We then deduced that for her, quality means a ton more than quantity, and she waited to release her second album until 4 years after her first.

And what we get is a whirlwind of her journey. The album starts with Lorde singing “I do my makeup in somebody else’s car,” the opening line from “Green Light.” She sings about her incapability of letting go of a memory with a person from the past. “Green Light” is just a preview of what’s to come. The rest of the songs are a party you’ll never get out of. “Sober” explains just that, and “Homemade Dynamite” complemented it with having someone holding your hand and “blowing shit up with homemade dynamite” together with you throughout it. “The Louvre” deals more with the feelings you have with this budding crush; you “overthink [their] punctuation use” and you feel that megaphone in your chest, where you just want everyone to know exactly how you’re feeling, because it’s all so damn beautiful.

Then the album reaches its second half and the party took its dark turn. In “Liability,” Lorde sings about how people think she’s a little much for them—a feeling that’s universal and relatable to her listeners and more. In “Hard Feelings / Loveless,” everything is over, and with Lorde’s craftsmanship in writing lyrics, we can feel every single one of her words. (Also, the beat break is just something else.) We hear incantations of “we told you this is melodrama” in “Sober II,” reminding about how these feelings evaporate more and more intensely throughout the album. In “Writer in the Dark” we hear Lorde weaponizing her identity as a writer (“bet you’ll rue the day you kissed a writer in the dark”) not to attack people from her past, but to remind them that these feelings will all stay no matter what—the party never stops. This is shown in the next track, “Supercut,” where she realizes that feelings look different in fast-forward.

The album ends with a reprise of “Liability,” with Lorde realizing a self-actualization that there’s nothing she can do about her being a little much—it’s the people around her that keeps judging. The reprise is followed by the album closer, “Perfect Places,” showing the audience that no, the party’s not over, and asking why do we keep searching for these places of comfort where in reality, we don’t know what they actually are (“what the fuck are perfect places anyway?”).

Melodrama isn’t supposed to be interpreted in a single meaning. The album means different things for different people, and even in my context, means different things during different times listening to it. What matters is Melodrama is an album made to be cherished and given meaning to by its listeners; this is why it’s special.

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