So far, Lorde's two for two in the comeback stakes, having released a couple of stellar new pop tracks ("Green Light" and "Liability"), taken from her new album Melodrama, which you'll be able to gleefully splash about in from June 16.
Here in Lorde-less old April, however, that seems like an awful long time away, so The World's Smartest and Coolest 20-Year-Old™ has offered some insight into the LP's conception and processes via a new profile in the New York Times. It's a fun read which paints Lorde as a serious pop songwriter with an ear for detail and a newfound set of emotions which she's more than ready to wear on her black glitter-embellished sleeves. Here are the main Melodrama-related takeaways:
To Write Pop Well, You Need "Reverence for the Form"
Lorde makes no secret of her adoration of her chosen form, pop music, and she's adamant that it's serious business (she's definitely right): "A lot of musicians think they can do pop," she says, "and the ones who don't succeed are the ones who don't have the reverence—who think it's just a dumb version of other music. You need to be awe-struck."
Bleachers' Jack Antonoff is the Record's Main Co-Writer, Taking a Melody-Led Approach
As with her debut Pure Heroine on which she worked closely with New Zealand musician Joel Little, Lorde selected one major co-writer for Melodrama. This time it's Jack Antonoff, otherwise known as Bleachers. Unlike Little, Antonoff takes a melody-centered approach, leading to her comparison of the record to Joni Mitchell's Blue, in one of the profile's best soundbites: "I'd go to Jack and say, 'I have a chunk of melody in mind and I want to try a tight, syncopated falsetto, maybe like a Prince thing [...] Then we'd sit at the piano straight away and figure it out." As a result, she said, "you could play the whole album acoustically if you wanted—it's like Blue."
The Album Will Tell The Story of One House Party
Before Lorde initially announced that Melodrama was on its way, she wrote a note which included the statement "The party is about to start. I am about to show you the new world."
Turns out this was more literal than you might initially have thought: she says that Melodrama will tell the story of one single house party, in a manner that the Times calls "impressionistic rather than schematic": "With a party, there's that moment where a great song comes on and you're ecstatic," Lorde says. "And then there's that moment later on where you're alone in the bathroom, looking in the mirror, you don't think you look good, and you start feeling horrible."
When writing for her last album, Lorde didn't drink alcohol on her nights out, out of "wanting not to miss anything" but says that for Melodrama she "went to the party and got drunk." That feels like a pretty neat encapsulation of what we've heard so far If "Green Light" is the high, "Liability" is the emotional comedown. Thank you to Lorde, a literal 20-year-old, for articulating the story of my life better than I ever could.
Pop God Max Martin Said "Green Light" is "Incorrect Songwriting"
Probably the most respected man in pop, Max Martin's opinion is one that many songwriters fear—but, obviously, not Lorde. Of "Green Light," she says, "he had a very specific opinion, which had to do with the melodic math—shortening a part." He called the song "incorrect songwriting," but Lorde agrees: "It's a strange piece of music." In any case, we happen to think that songwriting is pretty dope.
So, if you weren't champing at the bit to hear Melodrama now, it's probable that with these tidbits in mind, you probably are now. And so you should be. Long Live the Good Witch of Pop, and let's hope June 16 arrives in a flash, huh?
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(Image via Lorde on Instagram)