Album of the Week: Lorde, 'Melodrama'

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Lorde, 'Melodrama'
Lorde, 'Melodrama' (Republic Records)
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Lorde's Melodrama was arguably the most anticipated sophomore release of 2017. Her understated debut, Pure Heroine, became a worldwide hit by charming fans with its minimal production and imaginative, youthful lyrics. After the massive success of her hit single, "Royals," the New Zealand-born songwriter could have taken a break from the spotlight. Instead, she embarked on a world tour that included most of the major music festivals in North America, made contributions to The Hunger Games soundtrack, and her voice helped elevate Disclosure's "Magnets" to become more than another U.K. dance anthem.

By the time Lorde shared her new single, "Green Light," she had already become a musical icon with a genuineness uncharacteristic of the pop-culture icons of her generation. She has transcended genre by being the only female solo artist of the 21st century so far to top the Alternative Rock Chart. Her tweets and social media presence have ignited fan conspiracy theories worthy of making the tabloids, and her interviews with the press come off as untrained by any publicist.

For an artist who has few detractors in the mainstream or critical music press, Lorde's next release would define her career, and her new album is a clear statement of who she wants to be. She tapped some of the biggest names in pop'ternative for an album that is all hits but no thrills. Jack Antonoff, whose main success came from his band FUN.'s hit song, "We Are Young," has become the wunderkind of making the alternative-rock sound appeal to fans of pop music. Add to the mix Swedish indie-pop writer Andrew Wyatt, and you have the perfect mix of producers to sculpt the new mold for Lorde's distinctive mezzo-soprano range and her affinity for minimal beats informed by contemporary rap music. The outcome is alternative pop perfected.

Melodrama artfully mixes the sounds of pop music while giving room for Lorde to mature as a lyricist and vocalist. With songs like "Green Light" and "Perfect Places," the album safely sidesteps any chance of being categorized as a sophomore slump. The songs are instant hits with clear choruses and verses ready to be remixed for the dance floor. In contrast, confessional tracks like "Liability," with its reprise later in the album, reveal that Lorde is still the earnest observer of an interconnected but lonely existence. It's an album that gives Lorde's hardcore fans the authenticity of her debut while pleasing followers of her pop persona.

Lorde's Melodrama is out now.

Resources


Lorde - official site

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  • DJ Pick of the Week: Lorde, 'Green Light' Lorde's next album, 'Melodrama,' won't be released until mid-June, but in the meantime, she's given us a lead single that Brian Oake calls an 'amazing slice of dance-floor magic.' Lorde's 'Green Light' is Brian's DJ Pick of the Week.

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