2017, Music

Melodrama (2017) by Lorde

I know Lorde by exactly one song. I am not aware of hearing another song of hers ever. In the intervening years, I wasn’t even sure if she was still recording much. I feel like I’ve heard her name here and there but, mostly, whatever spaces I was aware of discussing her when “Royals” came out had long since moved on to something else.

There are a number of really catchy songs here that I’m surprised I’ve never heard before. (Maybe I’ve heard them out in the ether somewhere and don’t remember.) To here credit, there are also some lines that made me chuckle or stuck in my head. That’s pretty unusual for me with pop albums.

Apparently this record has a lot more going on than the first album. That’s interesting because not every song sounds as dense as I would have expected from something labelled “maximalist” but everything is relative, right? Similarly, I know Antonoff mostly as a punchline: so ubiquitous as a producer as to have become essentially milquetoast. I don’t know how many Antonoff-produced albums I’ve heard so far, but it’s not many. So I don’t know if this record helps establish his cliches or not. To me it mostly sounds appropriate to the songs given the era and this whole “sad party girl” aesthetic that is apparently a thing.

I don’t love Lorde as a singer some of the time, so it’s a testament to the songs and production that I like this as much as I do. She occasionally indulges in cursive singing (there’s one track that’s really bad for it but I forgot to note it) and otherwise I find the like half-whisper thing to be a little weird. (It’s become a thing, now, hasn’t it? I guess she’s a trailblazer.) I am fine with unconventional vocal techniques – I love them in fact – but everything in moderation. It’s better to do something here and there then to spend most of a record singing a particular way, as far as I’m concerned.

Anyway, I don’t know if this is the greatest “alt pop” record ever made because I just became familiar with the term this week. But I do think this is a strong record, with strong material and a sound that is varied enough but similar enough to make the whole thing seem like a coherent statement.


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