Lorde - Melodrama Reviewed

by James Whitney Sep 23rd, 2017 02:53 PM Eastern

Lorde - Melodrama Review

A few years ago, I remember listening to “Royals” for the first time. It had this playful yet simplistic charm to it, and helped catapult Lorde into stardom. Here was this unannounced sixteen year old that didn’t sing about high school romance or broken hearts, but instead quipped about what she would never be; which is funny because she hangs with Taylor Swift now, and at this point is certainly a royal in the pop world. That song was the first song by a female artist since Alanis Morsette to hit number one on the alternative charts. A royal indeed.

Melodrama, Lorde’s sophomore effort begins with “Green Light” which feels familiar to the fans of her debut album, but looms a bit larger. The albums tonality aims bigger, and while like its predecessor features synths, it seems to have a more completed sound, and doesn’t feel quite as raw or narrow in sound scape. The sounds from song to song vary more as well, but in this case the album still feels very cohesive.

Lorde’s voice on this album really shines. Her vocals paint a world that delves more into what almost sounds like typical pop banter, but slides around it instead. Just when we think we are listening to songs about how bad love is, or how millennials can’t seem to love each other while she spells out “loveless” in the background, she reminds us of the album’s title saying, “We told you this was melodrama.”

The album sounds almost what you would expect it to sound like. There are dark synths with Lorde using both the high and low range of her voice in mostly predictable ways, but it is the sense of spontaneity that keeps the album sounding refreshing throughout. The album uses piano notes when it wants to be sincere, and then jumps into 70’s-esque slowly played guitar chords, and then again to these wonderfully full sounding synths. The album isn’t afraid to let the music speak for itself ether. There are moments where Lorde simply stops lyrically, and allows thirty second and in some spots even longer variations of sounds to balance songs out, and give the album more musicality.

Lorde also is spontaneous with her voice. She sings a full range as she did with her previous album, but on Melodrama she nearly whispers at times, and almost faintly raps for a moment. In “Homemade Dynamite”, the song comes to screeching stop with “Now you know it’s really going to blow” followed by a very kitschy explosion noise that Lorde does with vocals rather than effects. That song by the way is probably the catchiest work, and is shockingly not a released single, at least not yet.

"She sings a full range as she did with her previous album, but on Melodrama she nearly whispers at times"

The entire album flows seamlessly, but I couldn’t help but notice after several listens that I enjoyed the front half much more. It isn’t that the back half of the album was bad, but more so that the front half was that overwhelmingly good. It had the lyrical purities, pardon the pun of “Pure Heroine”, but with the insight of a more sophisticated young woman. She knows she might be in over her head, and is certainly aware that she hit it out of the park with her last album, but this album doesn’t suffer for it and musically is actually much better. Today’s teens are certainly more self-aware, and when they are trying to get away from all of their own melodrama, well they will feel right at home here listening to this album.

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