I've struggled to consider myself a fan of Lorde, mainly due to the fact that her first album was very much a mixed bag for me. I loved songs like Royals and Team but on the whole, the album was very safe and never really stepped out of her comfort zone. Which is why I was incredibly shocked when Green Light was released earlier this year and I was treated to a dance-infused, pop-busting track which also stretched Lorde's vocal capabilities as well. From the second that track finished for the first time I was immediately excited for whatever album it was going to be a part of, and here is that album. Melodrama. From the title you can tell this isn't necessarily going to be a happy record and the painting of Lorde on the cover depicts nothing but a solemn, lonely woman. And for the most part she sticks to that persona that adorns the cover, but occasionally she will step out from its shadow.
The album opens with the incredibly Green Light, bursting out from its own seams. The second track is Sober, the 4th single from the album. It's a haunting track to begin with, until the 808 kicks in and Lorde begins singing, and then it feels as if the track could go one of two ways: a power ballad or another dance track. It takes the latter option, but with a twist. Every chorus gets quicker and quicker and in many ways it fits the track phenomenally well, Lorde adopts her sultry, lower toned voice for much of the recording and it's a choice that pays off because the end result is a very good, minimalist electronic track. Which on paper sounds awful, but listen to it and you'll realise it's great. Writer in The Dark is one of my favourite deeper cuts on the album, it's a halt to the up tempo with a piano ballad. Its about her break up with her photographer boyfriend, and the large influence on this track was obviously Kate Bush. When she switches the tone of her voice you could almost be mistaken for believing it was Miss Bush herself.
What impresses me most about this album is that Lorde is in no way 'safe' at any point, with songs like Supercut taking on an incredibly progressive beat and laying her vocals over it, it creates an incredibly diverse yet very cohesive album. And that last part is incredibly important to an album, because if it doesn't sound cohesive then in many ways they are usually very hard to listen to. Melodrama, however, is so incredibly pleasing to your ears that you will not have any doubts about how cohesive this project is. One qualm I do have with the album is that it is supposed to tell the story of a house party, yet I don't see the underlying theme of the party, it just seems like a bunch of tracks where partying is mentioned at times, but tracks like Writer In The Dark and Liability don't match with this theme at all. The album closer, Perfect Places, is arguably the best album closer of 2017 with Lorde's effortless vocals and her ability to craft a story of debauchery and shame, and yet still make it sound so perfect. The song is so upbeat, yet utterly downbeat and trodden on is the vision that Lorde portrays. It's like one last hurrah for being young.
Overall, this is an astoundingly excellent album, written to perfection with lyrics to indulge in and soak up over the coming months. Such as in Supercut where it's the whole story of a relationship yet it's been cut down in to what is effectively a highlights reel, an incredibly well written one. The songs that look inwards and search are so well written and never over-indulgent in her own being or pretending to be the victim. In many ways, this is quintessentially the perfect pop record with it's highs and its lows yet never does it stumble, instead Melodrama leaps every hurdle with ease.