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Deep Dive: Lorde

Hello everyone, today we have another installment of the ‘Deep Dive’ series. This time I’m going to write about Lorde, someone I’m sure you’ve all heard of at some point, but maybe don’t know a lot about.

I wanted to write about Lorde as I believe she is a true artist with everything she does, her music appeals to people all over the world and she has achieved so much in such a short space of time. She is definitely one of my favourite pop artists at the moment and I am really looking forward to seeing what she does next. But first, let’s go back a few years…

For most of us Lorde burst on to the scene with her super catchy minimalist song Royals back in 2013, and maybe for a lot of you this is where your knowledge of Lorde’s music ends, but that’s why I wanted to write this. There are so many layers in the two albums she released after that, and yes, maybe I connect to it more because of my age and I can relate so much to the words she writes, but there’s a lot more to it than that for me.

Lorde got singed to a record label in 2009 at only 13 years old after performing with a friend on a radio show, she then started performing covers live in 2010 before starting to write her own music in 2011 with Joel Little of Goodnight Nurse, who then went on to co-write and co-produce The Love Club EP and Pure Heroine. Lorde released The Love Club as a free download on Soundcloud in 2013, the EP included Royals as the single and because of this song gained a lot of interest and mainstream attention in New Zealand, Australia and the US.

Later that year, at only 16 years old, Lorde released her debut album Pure Heroine. With her defiance of song structure and inspiration from poetry and short fiction Lorde’s lyrics and minimalist sound shook the mainstream music scene and gave the new generation what they wanted to hear. It was a moody masterpiece that portrays suburban teenage disillusionment and critiques mainstream culture. It’s about growing up, when things start to change and relationships between people you’ve known for years become different. It’s about when you start to notice the world from a different perspective and how that shifts your view. It’s about fake friends and first relationships and childhood nostalgia. I love it.

Lorde put into words everything I was feeling at that age in a way more eloquent way than I ever could, and if you haven’t listened to the album for a while then please go give it another listen, it still stands the test of time. I connected to the album a lot, and so did many other teenagers all over the world which is why Lorde then become this icon for our generation in mainstream media and arguably changed the face of pop music at the same time. It was a breath of fresh air that was definitely needed.

I am still in awe that Lorde was only 16 when this was released and how mature the song-writing is, if anything, to me that shows her true artistry and how much effort was put into this album. It shows that she has a lot more to give, and we definitely get that with her sophomore album Melodrama.

However, before we get to Melodrama I wanted to talk about some of the other things she did in between albums. In 2014 Lorde curated The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt.1 soundtrack where she also appeared on some tracks and released Yellow Flicker Beat and Ladder Song, the first of those two being one of my favourite songs she has released.

During this time she also co-wrote songs for Broods (Heartlines) and Bleachers (Don’t Take The Money, possibly my favourite Bleachers song) and featuring on the song Magnets by Disclosure before stepping out of the spotlight away from the public eye for two years, only appearing to perform a David Bowie tribute at the BRIT awards in 2016.

Melodrama was released in the summer of 2017 and it sees the next step in the journey of growing up that started on Pure Heroine. At its core the album is about being alone for the first time, going through a breakup, party culture and the realities of growing up. However its changes between being all dressed up and glamorous and the contrasting stark feelings that come after. It’s an album about trying to lose yourself while also finding yourself at the same time, how much pain you can feel after a breakup and how this affects your life either for better or for worse.

Melodrama has been called ‘mainstream melancholy’ and ‘millennial darkness’ which I think fits quite well. The gut wrenching and heart-breaking feelings Lorde sings about on this album really hits you as the listener and the way the music flows and the use of space means that you either feel euphoric or you feel the harsh realities of it. It’s an album that has been crafted over time to emulate some of these feelings and though it may take a bit more time to understand than Pure Heroine, once it clicks you won’t be able to stop listening.

Most of the events of Melodrama take place in Lorde’s home, making the album really introspective while also being melodramatic. For example some of the bigger sounding songs on the album like Sober, Homemade Dynamite and Perfect Places make it seem a lot bigger than the events actually were, but that’s how they felt. These then contrast with Liability, Sober II and Writer In The Dark, which are more bare songs, showing the feelings exactly how they are without the euphoric feelings but still lyrically being melodramatic. It’s like the difference between the party and the morning after.

Lyrically Melodrama is more introspective than Pure Heroine, the perspective on the sophomore album shifts to the first person instead of the use of ‘we’ and ‘us’ that kept appearing on Pure Heroine as a perspective of the observer. Lorde is tackling these feeling head on and is not afraid to confront them this time. The more introspective lyrics also show a viewpoint on maturity and growing up at the time of it happening instead of from the perspective of someone who is looking back. This way means that nothing is left out and the melodrama of it all is captured raw.

Though Melodrama didn’t stay in the mainstream for as long as Pure Heroine did, the impact it had was just as big if not bigger. I feel like this album needs time to grow and manifest in your mind to fully understand, and although I’ve always enjoyed the album I feel like I appreciate it more now lyrically, musically and production wise.

I honestly love all the songs so much and over time I feel a lot more connected to them which is why I’m very excited to see what happens next. Recording has started for the third album and Jack Antonoff (Fun. Bleachers, Taylor Swift) is producing again, so I’m very much looking forward to it. I appreciate that Lorde takes time in between albums to reflect and live a bit before starting a new album cycle, it shows that she really cares about what she writes and crafts it over time.

Thank you for reading this piece, it’s taken my quite a bit of time to write as I really wanted to get it right and show you all why Lorde’s music is some of the best pop music of the last ten years. I could go on for a bit longer but I don’t want to bore you so I’ll leave it here.

Please give Pure Heroine and Melodrama a listen if you haven’t already or re-visit them if it’s been a while. If you want more in depth reviews of the albums going through each song then let me know and I can start to do that. If there are any other bands and artists you want me to include in this series then please let me know, I do enjoy writing these ones though the do take some time.

Thanks again.

Listen to Lorde on Spotify here.

Follow Lorde on Instagram here.

Watch Lorde’s interview with i-D here.

Follow me on Spotify here.

Follow After Midnight on Instagram here.

Follow After Midnight on Facebook here.

Follow me on Instagram here.

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