So back when I was 10, I discovered a song called Royals on youtube, became obsessed with it, memorised it, and sung it all the time. I knew no other things about it that someone called Lorde had sung it (And for those of you who don’t know, that’s lord). Now this was the time I was not a big fan of music, and didn’t really know how to appreciate it. I listened to some other songs by Lorde, but that was at far as it goes.
Then, 2017 rolled around, and one of my friends informs me that I NEED to listen to an album called Melodrama, by this genius woman who goes by the name of Lorde. Of course, I recognised her, and listened to the album. That’s where everything changed for me.
Listening to Melodrama, and then going back and buying Pure Heroine changed the way I look at music. Now, music is more than just beats and words–it’s an art form. It’s poetry. It’s so much more. I’ve started exploring genres, artists, everything–all because of Lorde.
Lorde wrote her first studio album, Pure Heroine, when she was sixteen. Prior to that, she had two EPs, the songs of which she released again in the deluxe version of Pure Heroine. It was great. Then, 2017, Melodrama came out. And it was fantastic. I could rant for an hour on why Melodrama should have won Album of the Year and had more nominations at the Grammy’s, but whatever. Here’s why I love Lorde:
Tennis Court is among the songs that got Lorde started. Like many songs in the Pure Heroine album, this song also talks about how everyone puts up a fake personality, and put on fake smiles and pretend like everything is perfect, when the reality is that it’s not.
Don’t you think that it’s boring how people talk? Make ’em smart with the words again…I love this line, and it’s just the perfect line to start the album and the song with, just encompassing everything in one, brief line, emphasising on how fake people how, and they talk about meaningless things.
Baby be the class clown, I’ll be the beauty queen in tears! The ‘class clown’ and ‘beauty queen’ are all names for people, saying that these personalities, have come out of the classroom, and real people start being melodramatic ;).
We’re so happy, even when we’re smiling out of fear, so let’s go down to the tennis court, and talk it up… Another line that captures the whole song and summarises everything. It’s pretty self-explanatory. The tennis court is (what I think) a metaphor for a place where people are real and not paper men.
400 Lux is one of my favourites on the album. Accompanied by some quality production and melodies, the lyrics form a perfect skeleton for the song.
We’re never done will killing time, another line that nods to societal problems.
I love these roads where the houses don’t change, where we can talk like there’s something to say, again the same message, over and over, expressed differently.
We might be hollow…again. I don’t think I need to say this anymore. And I’m not referring to this repetition in a bad way. In addition, this song also explores a love story that spans seasons.
Royals, the hit single that was Lorde’s major career starter, also has a deep meaning to it, and is a playful jab at rich, glamorous celebrity lifestyle.
Ribs is a nostalgic song that deals with getting old, and the stresses that come with being an adult, and dealing with change in life.
‘Lover’s Split’ left on repeat. If you have no idea what Lover’s Split is, google it.
Mum and dad let me stay home, it drives you crazy getting old. Again. Do I need to explain?
This dream isn’t feeling sweet. We’re reeling through the midnight streets. I’ve never felt more alone, it feels so scary, getting old. Lorde talks about wishing you were a grown up when you were a child, and then realising, that not everything’s sweet and great as an adult, and now she wishes she could be a child again.
I want ’em back, those minds we had, how all the thoughts, moved round our heads, again Lorde wants to go back to being a child because it ‘feels so scary getting old’. Now that’s one beautiful way to put it.
Buzzcut Season, one of my favourites on the album, is about how exaggerated and overdramatic everything and all the people are.
I remember when your head caught flame…Well you laughed, baby it’s okay, it’s buzz cut season anyway. What I take from this line, is that people get so caught up in things that don’t matter, that they stop caring about or giving thought to the things that do.
Explosions on TV and all the girls with heads inside their dreams. Do I really need to say anything here?
There are other great lines in the song as well, but these two are my favourite because they put it forward so clearly and so well. I’ll let you listen to the rest yourself.
Team another iconic one, is my second favourite on the album, and a lot of that has to attribute to the lyrical geniosity (I know that’s not a word, but this is my blog, so it’s my freedom of speech) of Lorde.
Call all the ladies out, they’re in their finery, a hundred jewels on throat a hundred jewels between teeth, now bring my boys in, their skin in craters like the moon, the moon we love like a brother while he glows through the room. I’m 90% sure I’m wrong, but here’s the takeaway from this line: The first part, of course is clear–ladies wear a lot of makeup, jewellery to make themselves look better–nothing new, but sure as hell a smart way to put it. The second part, in my opinion, tells ladies (and guys) that even the moon has craters on its skin, but it still glows and looks beautiful…? Either way, right or wrong, any meaning to this beautiful line will still be incredibly poetic.
We live in cities you’ll never see on screen, not very pretty but we sure know how to run things. We live in ruins of the palace within my dreams, and you know, we’re on each other’s team. This is another nod to the themes I talked about in the other songs–the artificial society, and how social media lets you portray people so glamorously and so perfectly, that people start comparing their real life to someone else’s ‘social media life’, you get it? You’ll see a palace on Instagram, but in reality, it’s only a ruin. The real thing you’ll never see on screen.
From Glory and Gore, I’m not going to quote a lot of stuff, because you have to listen to the entire song to get it. But it’s main message is that glory doesn’t come without struggle (the ‘gore’), which she expresses in the single line, glory and gore go hand in hand.
White Teeth Teens is also a song you have to listen to to get, I can’t quote stuff, but it talks about the view people have of perfect people, but then she says, I am not a white teeth teen. I tried to join, but never did, saying she cannot be perfect. This term ‘white teeth teens’ could also mean the ‘cool teenager’ that Lorde tried to become, but couldn’t because she didn’t fit in and she couldn’t be a paper girl.
A World Alone, the last track of the actual album talks about Lorde realising that she doesn’t care what people say. The album begins with Don’t you think that it’s boring how people talk, and the last song ends with Let ’em talk.
Another track I love, from the original Love Club EP, Bravado, is worth listening to (It’s also on the deluxe edition of PH). It talks about being alone.
All my life, I’ve been fighting a war, I can’t talk to you or your friends, it’s not only you, my heart jumps around when I’m alluded to. This will not do, cause I was raised up to be admired, to be noticed but when you’re withdrawn, it’s the closest thing to assault when all eyes are on you. She’s talking about being alone, and not being important, which is the similar theme that she explores in the Melodrama track, Liability.
This will not do…I’m faking glory, lick my lips, toss my hair and turn the smile on and the story’s brand new, but I can take it from here. I’ll find my own bravado. Again. The faking perfection theme, but this time, Lorde says she doesn’t care if she’s a misfit, she can find her way alone.
The Love Club, a song on the deluxe edition and in the original EP, is one of my favourites. It’s about facing societal pressure as a teen, and being forced into drugs/smoking/doing something your parents don’t allow, because ‘everyone does it’, or the ‘cool kids do it’, or, simply, peer pressure.
In the old days there was enough, the card games and ease with the bitter salt of blood. I was in but I want out. My mother’s love is choking me, I’m sick of words that hang above my head. What about the kid? It’s time the kid got free. This lyric is expressing the idea of wanting to come out of being a nerdy ‘kid’ and start doing things teens do.
Be a part of the love club, everything will glow for you. You’ll get punched for the love club…There’s something about hanging out with the wicked kids, take the pill make it too ill. This is the societal pressure I was referring to.
In Melodrama, one can tell that Lorde has grown. She wrote Pure Heroine at sixteen, and Melodrama at nineteen. There’s a world’s difference. Melodrama is a break-up album, so naturally, as a kid rounding the corner to teenage, Pure Heroine was what should appeal to me more, but I hold both albums to an equal rank, simply because of the production and the LYRICS of Melodrama.
Green Light provides such a perfect analogy to moving on. It talks about not being able to move on from a break up, and waiting for the ‘green-light’ so she may move past it, but the green light isn’t coming.
Honey I’ll come get my things but I can’t let go, I’m waiting for it! The green light! I want it! In contrast to the lyrics, the melody is incredibly catchy and up-beat. Also, the first verse is completely different to this one, where she says, Those great white they have big teeth. Hope they bite you. And is evidently MAD at her ex-lover.
Sober is one of the most well-thought-out tracks of the world. Highly recommend listening to it before hand. The production is like no other. It’s about meeting a new person, and getting drunk, and falling in love again, but at the back of her head, she’s thinking, But what will we do when we’re sober? She doesn’t know if she’ll still want to be in a relationship once she is out of her drunken state. Simply, the lyrics are put beautifully, JUST LISTEN TO IT.
Homemade Dynamite, is also great because of it’s production, but we’re talking about lyrics here, so we’ll stick to that.
A couple rebel top gun pilots flying with nowhere to be. First of all, what a beautiful metaphor for saying I’M LOST AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO.
I’ll give you my best lies…another nod to the Pure Heroine theme of being fake.
Why get your friend to drive when he can hardly see? We’ll end up painting on the road red and chrome, all the broken glass sparkling. I guess we’re partying. Now who the hell would have thought to say YEAH WE CRASHED AND LOST BLOOD BECAUSE THE DRIVER COULDN’T SEE, in that beautiful, artsy, poetic way. No one, except Lorde apparently. Because only she can create that rich imagery.
The Louvre, (first up, if you don’t know what that is, google it). This song is just beautiful. Examples:
I overthink your p-punctuation use. Lorde and the way she uses her stammers. I can’t even describe. This is another point to social media, and how when you’re messaging something, even a comma can change the effect of what you’re saying. So, don’t use it kids!
Megaphone to my chest. Broadcast the boom-boom-boom-boom and make ’em all dance to it. Seriously. Just google this line, because I cannot even explain this line to you. But basically, she’s saying her heart is beating so fast that people could dance to it, and also, another interpretation would be that people don’t care about her heart or her feelings and instead of comforting her or doing something about it, they dance to it, even when she’s clearly telling/showing them she’s hurt.
Blow all my friendships to sit in hell with you. I’m not even going to try to explain this.
But we’re the greatest, they’ll hang us in the Louvre. Down the back. But who cares. Still the Louvre. I just love the witty humour in this line, casually thrown into the emotional rollercoaster that is this song.
Guess I’ll go home. Into the arms of the girl that I love, the only love I haven’t screwed up. She’s so hard to please, but she’s a forest fire. I do my best to meet her demands…
We slow dance in the living room, but all that a stranger would see, is one girl swaying alone, stroking her cheek. Here’s where we get the big reveal. She’s talking about herself. She’s the only love she has been left with. She’s not content with herself, and is trying to meet her own demands, but she can’t. And she’s stroking her cheek because she’s crying.
They say you’re a little much for me, you’re a liability…So they pull back, make other plans, I understand, I’m a liability, I’m a little much for everyone. The main theme of the song is the feeling of being a burden on other people, to be a person everyone has to care for, and being the one that’s left out.
The truth is I am a toy, that people enjoy, till all of the tricks don’t work anymore, and then they are bored of me. I can’t even say anything before this line.
I know that it’s exciting running through the night but every perfect summer’s eating me alive until you’re gone. I’m better on my own. She’s trying to tell herself that she can do it alone.
They’re going to watch me disappear into the sun. You’re all going to watch me disappear into the sun. This one is a slap and a promise to the haters.
Hard Feelings/Loveless. Picking up the pace after Liability, is Hard Feelings.
I remember the rush, when forever was us, before all of the winds of regret and mistrust, now we sit in your car and our love is a ghost. What a beautiful way to say it. She’s talking about being so in love that she forgot all else, before reality kicked in.
I light all the candles, got flowers for all my rooms. I care for myself the way I used to care about you. Another slap to the ex.
Now I’ll fake it every single day ’til I don’t need fantasy, ’til I feel you leave, but I still remember everything, how we’d drift buying groceries, how you’d dance for me. I’ll start letting go of little things ’til I’m so far away from you…Hard Feelings is a song that looks back at the relationship, and is put perfectly.
Bet you wanna rip my heart out, bet you wanna skip my calls now, well guess why? I like that! this is from Loveless, the second part of the song, and is a jab at the lover.
Look out, lovers! L-O-V-E-L-E-S-S generation. This line is my favourite throughout the song. It talks about how ‘love’ has become a word so commonly thrown around, it’s lost its value. It isn’t important anymore. People get together and break up so quickly. Love doesn’t matter that much anymore, in this generation.
Sober II (Melodrama)
They’ll talk about us, all the lovers, how we kissed and killed each other. Ahh. This is just…I can’t even explain it. The further I get into Melodrama, I feel like I can’t/shouldn’t explain the lyrics because there’s either no point, or because they’re just out of my league.
I know the lyrics are getting less and less vague, but I’m just looking at the choice of words and the way Lorde structures her lyrics.
Writer in the Dark.
Break the news, you’re walking out to be a good man for someone else, sorry I was never good like you…I did my best to exist just for you…Bet you rue the day you kissed the writer in the dark. Lorde is calling herself the ‘writer in the dark’ and says that despite her best efforts, the relationship was ‘born to die’.
But in my darkest hour, I stumbled on a secret power, I found a way to be without you. Who could ever think to write it this way?
Supercut. In this, Lorde looks back at her relationship one last time, but this time focusing only on the good parts, and wishes she might have tried to salvage it.
In my head I do everything right. When you call, I’ve forgiven that fight. This just evokes so much sadness in me.
I play a supercut of us, all the magic we gave off, all the love we hadn’t lost. I mean, all the poetry classes are happening right here in this very song.
Liability (Reprise). This one refutes the first track by the same name, and goes to say but you’re not what you thought you were. This can be taken in two ways. Either it’s telling the lover that he’s not worth what he thought he was, or the more obvious interpretation, in which she’s picking herself up and telling herself she’s better than just a liability.
Perfect Places. A PERFECT way to conclude the album. This talks about finally being able to let go of the relationship, and/or of teenage–but not quite. A part of her will always remember. And at the same time, it has a very Pure Heroine vibe to it.
I hate the headlines and the weather, I’m nineteen and I’m on fire, means that everything is being dramatised far past the point it needs to be, and it’s frustrating her. At least, that’s what Lorde has said. There could be new interpretations, obviously.
All of the things we’re taking. Cause we are young and we’re ashamed, send us to perfect places. All of our heroes fading, now I can’t stand to be alone, let’s go to perfect places. All the nights spent off our faces, trying to find these perfect places. What the [hell] are perfect places, anyway?
Prior to this chorus, Lorde talks about transitioning into adulthood, opening up, moving on from the breakup, drinking, and just being free. So she’s almost there, but then she realises she doesn’t even know what her destination is? What does she want, and where is she going? She’s lost her role-models, and is lost herself.
Really, the song is leaving the album open-ended. She’s asking if complete satisfaction, success and happiness is attainable, and if so, how? What defines these goals? How can one say he/she has attainted them?
Here’s a bonus, from the song she wrote for the third Hunger Games movie, Yellow Flicker Beat:
I’m a princess, carved from marble smoother than a stone, and the scars that mark my body, they’re silver and gold. My blood is a flood of rubies precious stones, it keeps my veins hot, the fire’s found a home in me. This is telling people that they must be comfortable in their own skin, and not worry about bodily insecurities, as she exaggerates her beauty in a positive way, which is the same idea she highlighted in Team.
I never watch the stars there’s so much down here. This line says it all. It’s the reason I had to include this song in the post.
All in all? What did I learn? First of all, music is not just about the music, but also about the lyrics, and they’ve started meaning more to me. They’re basically poetry. Second, I learnt a lot about how to state basic things in a better way and go that extra step to think and make a sentence sound better. To add that extra flare.
Really, I just learnt a lot of poetry, and I think I might start picking up poetry books now!
Buy the albums: