Review: Lorde's 'Melodrama' nails heartbreak

Singer Lorde performs on the 'Other Stage' at the Glastonbury music festival at Worthy Farm, in Somerset, England, Friday, June 23, 2017. (Photo by Grant Pollard/Invision/AP)

Singer Lorde performs on the 'Other Stage' at the Glastonbury music festival at Worthy Farm, in Somerset, England, Friday, June 23, 2017. (Photo by Grant Pollard/Invision/AP)

Lorde’s latest album, “Melodrama,” released June 16, tells the singer’s deeply personal tale of struggling with heartbreak and learning to be comfortable in her own skin.

The sophomore slump is a typical phenomenon among artists with big debuts, like Lorde’s “Pure Heroine.” “Melodrama” doesn’t fall into that category. The singer took her angst, hip-hop beats and witty lyricism from “Pure Heroine” and brought them to “Melodrama,” with stronger production and a more intimate and introspective look at herself.

At times, the songs are catchy and tongue-in-cheek, like on singles “Green Light” and “Perfect Places.” “If they keep telling me where to go/I’ll blow my brains out to the radio,” she sings on the latter, before making the “ch-ch” sound of a gun cocking. At other points, Lorde’s lyrics and vocals are so personal and vulnerable, the songs feel fragile, as though they might break if you twist them gently.

One of the album’s highlights is heart-wrenching single “Liability.” The piano ballad is one of several songs inspired by Lorde’s first breakup. “The truth is that I am a toy that people enjoy/Until all of the tricks don’t work anymore/And then they are bored of me,” the singer emotionally confesses. She struggles with the idea of whether she is truly liked by those around her. Does her fame and emotionality make her a liability?

“Writer in the Dark” is another moment where Lorde exposes herself. Another quiet, piano-driven song, she sings “I’ll love you ‘til my breathing stops/I’ll love you ‘til you call the cops on me,” in a falsetto equal parts beautiful and eerie. She sings of her former partner’s desire to keep her quiet and away from the fame and her struggle to feel good enough for them. She resolves to “find a way to be without you.”  

The singer goes through the different coping mechanisms she tries throughout the album. In short, she learns you can’t drink or dance your pain away and rebounds don’t help. Learning to be alone is the essential remedy for a break-up, a lesson often taught but only learned through experience. “Meet somebody, take ‘em home/Let’s kiss and then take off our clothes/It’s just another graceless night,” the singer muses on “Perfect Places,” a song that revolves around the theme of searching for something to fill the void felt in your early 20’s.

In an age of radio singles, Lorde’s managed to create an album that tells a story and looks deep within herself. She traces each moment of frustration, sadness, anger and self-pitying she faced while going through heartbreak. Lorde has developed as an artist since she was the culture-critiquing 16-year-old on “Pure Heroine,” both as a songwriter and personally, as shone in her lyrics.

“Melodrama” is emotional, honest and personal without being whiny, harping or, well, melodramatic. It eloquently puts into words something many of us can’t: struggling with the loss of a relationship and picking up the pieces of yourself afterwards.

Rating: 4/5


Schae Beaudoin is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at schae.beaudoin@uconn.edu.