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Lorde captures the pure magic of a house party in Melodrama

The day of our Lorde is here!

Melodrama is officially out for the world to enjoy, and I simply can’t get enough.

I’ve been waiting for this album for quite a while, and though my expectations were high, I was not at all prepared for the magic that hit me as I drove around town blasting the record from my speakers.

Before officially downloading Melodrama I had done my part and listened to singles, ‘Green Light,’ ‘Liability,’ ‘Perfect Places,’ and ‘Sober’” on repeat, and had spent an unhealthy amount of time reading articles in where Lorde discussed the intentions behind the album.  She has stated in multiple interviews that the album was meant to be this impressionistic look at one’s long night at a party, this inspiration coming from Lorde herself going to parties in Auckland.

Of course, reading all of this had me feeling excited. I thought to myself, “how is she going to capture the pure magic that is going to a house party?” And even though my expectations were high, I was not at all prepared for what Lorde had in store.

Lorde truly captured the magic, pain, terror, and complete freedom that a young person feels when going out to parties, especially when going to these parties post-breakup.  ‘Green Light’ is the perfect intro track for this party that is Melodrama. She even opens the night for you, the first lyrics being “I do my makeup in somebody else’s car / we order different drinks at the same bars.”  From here it takes off.  It’s high energy.  It’s wanting to move on and trying to do so, yet still patiently awaiting that phone call, that “green light” to come back to your ex-lover’s place. But the call doesn’t come, so you go about your night, go to that party and let the magic take over.

‘Green Light,’ then turns into ‘Sober,’ which, for me, felt as though we were just stepping into the party. “It’s time we dance with the truth,” she says, and quickly moves to the song’s pre-chorus, “well my hips have missed your hips/so let’s get to know the kicks/will you sway with me/go astray with me?” Here I could see it all so vividly, as I’m sure many listeners have. You’ve just gone through a breakup, but you’re at this party, you’re letting loose and having fun, and you’re dancing with someone else as you try and ignore the sadness that’s inside you. “What will we do when we’re sober?” That’s always the question, isn’t it, Lorde?

The next few tracks feel like the ultimate peak, and the immediate comedown. “A couple rebel Top Gun pilots flying with no place to be” are the opening lyrics to ‘Homemade Dynamite.’  This is the moment where you’re feeling it with that guy/girl, and you want nothing more than to take them home. “Let’s let things come out of the woodwork / I’ll give you my best side / tell you my best lies… you know I think you’re awesome right?”  Lorde is being so honest about this clichéd hookup culture that surrounds parties.  You find someone attractive, you dance, you both go home, have fun, play it cool… and then the comedown.

‘The Louvre’ is this transition song, and almost feels like the moment after that, definitely bad for you but totally necessary hookup. You get “caught up in the rush,” though you know it won’t end well. And then we get ‘Liability.’  Lorde had mentioned in an interview that ‘Liability’ was supposed to “be that moment at a house party where you look at the mirror and you look like a mess, and you get sad.”  And while it would be our comedown in this impressionistic party she’s painted for us, this song goes much deeper than that.  She mentioned at her set at Bonnaroo that this song was a way to protect herself.  She’d also mentioned that learning to be happy with herself was something she got from this time in where she’s writing this record, and that theme begins to show here.  There is pure vulnerability here.  The track opens with the same theme ‘The Louvre’ presented us.  She sings, “Baby really hurt me/crying in the taxi/he don’t want to know me/says he made the big mistake of dancing in my storm…” we see her sadness, this sadness that comes with the aftermath of a rush.  And we see, for the first time, Lorde touching on that pain inside of her.  Of feeling like a “liability,” like “a toy.”  It’s poignant and beautiful, and while it touches to something much bigger than this party theme she’s given us, it still seems to fit in just perfectly.

The end of the record begins to move quickly as Lorde works with these new themes of vulnerability she presented. In ‘Hard Feelings/Loveless’ we see Lorde first learning how to take care of herself and move on now that her lover has gone, and then transports us back to this party for a moment.  “Bet you want to rip my heart out,” she sings in a playful voice “well guess what/I like that/ ‘cause I’m gonna mess your life up…L-O-V-E-L-E-S-S generation…” a perfect transition to ‘Sober II (Melodrama).’  Again, we’re at this party, but we’re still in this comedown.  She’s been sad, she’s been vulnerable, and while she was away with these feelings for a while, she’s brought them back to the party. “Last night I was feeling it, I was psycho high/I know you won’t remember in the morning when I speak my mind…we told you this was Melodrama.” She’s in that moment, I’m sure you’ve been there. That sadness that comes with the night ending, the rush gone, the stranger beside you.

After this we get ‘Writer in the Dark,’ which is Lorde’s way of coming out on top, of “stumble[ing] on” without her lover.  Following this is ‘Supercut,’ which perfectly details the feelings one has post-breakup, when thinking of your ex, all of the good you shared in an alternate reality in where things didn’t go wrong.  Here is where we start to feel some more energy, this energy being steadied in ‘Liability (Reprise)’ where she finally mentions “the party,” which is then brought back to life in the album’s closing track, ‘Perfect Places.’ “All the nights spent off our faces/trying to find these perfect places/ what the fuck are perfect places anyway?” And that’s it.  With a question and a piano, the night is officially over.

Lorde’s album is a true auditory journey.  She takes is through the highs and lows of a party, in where you meet a cute stranger, let go, fall apart, and learn to love yourself.  How she managed to capture all of this in just one album?  I have no clue, but she did it, and she did so beautifully.

Words by Sara Santora

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