For a young artist at the height of success by adolescence, Lorde's four-year gap between records could have been catastrophic; it's easy for the world to lose interest when there is constantly so much to consume.
But then, Lorde has never been one to fit the mould. The now 20-year-old exudes a level of wisdom and introspectiveness that isn't commonly found among her peers. Taking time in between the release of her critically acclaimed debut album, Pure Heroine, and its follow-up allowed Lorde to more fully experience life as a teenager — and, more importantly, as Ella Yelich-O'Connor. Melodrama, an exceptional, intimate collection of 11 tracks that depict the extreme rushes and devastating crashes of relationships, both with others and yourself, is no sophomore slump.
The previously released singles sound even better when heard within the album's structure. "Green Light" is an ideal, anthemic opener, while "Perfect Places" ties up any loose ends as the kind of closer you'd find yourself dancing to as the bar announces last call. When it comes to tracks unheard until now, it's clear that Lorde made a point of saving the best for last. "The Louvre" finds the songwriter at her finest, painting wistful imagery with sly lines like "They'll hang us in the Louvre / Down the back, but who cares / Still the Louvre." The narrative of a breakup continues throughout the mind-numbing, industrial shrieks of "Hard Feelings / Loveless," the raw vulnerability of "Writer in the Dark" and the hauntingly infectious pulse that drives "Supercut."
Lorde is masterful at making music that digs within the deepest recesses of your heart and brings to the surface the feelings that you thought you'd forgotten about. Melodrama is the perfect outlet to hash (and dance) those emotions out to.
Pre-order Melodrama via Umusic. (Lava)