When Lorde says “maybe all this is the party” on ‘Liability (Reprise)’, she isn’t confining the soiree to your standard social, tipsy, giggly teenage kind. Lorde’s Melodrama encompasses a full spectrum celebration of emotions. It’s a party incomplete without meltdowns, existential contemplation and enticing elicit substances — R-rated in every sense since the 20-year-old conjured up a shy, millennial electro-pop coming of age on Pure Heroine four years back; an entire lifetime ago in teen evolution years.
On Melodrama our girl presents herself with courageous transparency and sincere, soul-bearing female integrity. She sits somewhere quite comfortably between being finally all grown, but still on an uncertain path of self-exploration that comes hand in hand with the doomed fate that is entering adulthood.
Judged by its cover, Melodrama is shaped as an intense heartbreak record, but when read between the lines the album is nothing less than a project of self-healing, internal growth and utmost empowerment. On the opening verse of joint tracks ‘Hard Feelings/Loveless’ Lorde reminisces tenderly over a rush that once was, but sounds ultimately powerful on its second verse upon revealing, “I light all the candles / Cut flowers for all my rooms / I care for myself the way I used to care about you”.
‘Writer in the Dark’ is similarly heart-sinking, but this time the lustrous pop is traded for a stripped back, goosebump-inflicting ballad. “But in our darkest hours, I stumbled on a secret power, I’ll find a way to be without you babe” appears as a sure glimmer of hope at the climax of it’s quaking chorus, where while Lorde’s love remains unconditional to her former lover, in her new found solitude she manages to compel the peace to move forward alone.
Lorde’s Melodrama unapologetically brings to the table all the drama that comes with being a girl in the world, never once needing approval for all the extravagance and emotional messiness that her heart knows are valid. Rich in its layers of lavish production, heart-spoken lyrical content and elaborate theatrics, Melodrama is Lorde’s mightiest conquer yet.
Words: Laura McInnes