Solace in Solidarity
by Adelaide Greig
For me the power of Lorde and her new album, Melodrama (2017) is best exemplified by a moment at a house party a couple weeks ago. In the instant
I do my make up in somebody else’s car
blared from the speakers, every woman in the room turned to the d-floor (living room floor), entered the circle, posed with arms out and feet apart, made eye-contact with each other, all in time for the second line.
We order different drinks at the same bar
As I danced and sang in a circle of women I love and admire, I know about what you did and I want to scream the truth, she thinks you love the beach you’re such a damn liar… thought you said that you’d always be in love, but you’re not in love, no more
bursting in synchronisation from our lungs, I felt the most empowered I had in weeks, possibly months.
That has always been the appeal of Lorde, for me, at least. Beyoncé empowers by making you strut around singing along ‘you can say what you want, I’m the shit’ as you do your make up while wearing a bra and with a towel around wet hair and seven discarded outfit choices on the bed. However, Lorde’s fusion of simple and thus painfully relatable lyrics with an alt-pop sound which apparently is the sound my feelings make because oh my goodness, this is real, makes you feel not alone. And not a single one of the cool bois with their cool boi music opinions that I’ve talked to over the past few weeks for their thoughts on Melodrama, which have been predictably dismissive of her voice or the unoriginality of the sound, is going to change that. Lorde is not writing for them.
Lorde is a twenty year old woman who has written music about being a twenty year old woman and chose to bless us with her musical interpretation of falling in and out of love. And I, as a twenty-one year old woman, am intensely grateful that she has.
As the opening song ‘Green Light’ concludes with its final bittersweet
I’m waiting for it, that green light, I want it
fades, the album progresses into ‘Sober’ and ‘Homemade Dynamite,’ two odes to the confusing, exhilarating, terrifying and wondrous experience that is being exceptionally intoxicated and young and in the same room as that guy who wanted to check you were alright last week at the pub and has a cute smile … I know you’re feeling it too
can we keep up with the rouse? Will you sway with me, go astray with me?
We pretend that we just don’t care, but we care. And we do care, we care about our grades and getting a better job and how our hair looks and whether that person likes us and whether that thing we said was funny but we deal with that by taking another swig and smiling… but it’s okay, I’ll give you my best side,
tell you all my best lies… you know I think you’re awesome, right?
‘The Louvre’ is far from a love song and yet perfectly encapsulates that golden rush at the beginning of a psychopathic crush
drink up your movements, still I can’t get enough
And we do, ‘blow all our friendships to sit in hell’ with that feeling of being wanted and wanting someone.
I’m just a sucker who let you fill my mind, but what about love?
At what point does the big rush of a hot crush become something more… and what the hell do you do when it does?
This makes the crash into the second half of the album, starting with ‘Liability’, all the more powerful.
So they pull back, make other plans, I understand, I’m a liability, get you wild, make you leave, I’m a little much for everyone
is a line not just for every girl who’s ever been told she’s too emotional but also for anyone who’s ever loved or hoped for something and been told no.
The truth is I am a toy that people enjoy until all of the tricks don’t work anymore
‘Hard Feelings/Loveless’ straddles that perfect bittersweet line of break up song between I-am-in-a-black-pit-of-despair-and-it-is-very-black and fuck-you-I-am-angry-deleting-your-pics-on-my-insta-you-bastard. The harsh cutting synthetic string and jumble of percussion in the instrumental break encapsulate the feeling of your heart not feeling whole and still taking a deep breath and accepting that it will be one day. The almost spoken poetry vibe of and I’ll fake it every single day till I don’t need fantasy, till I feel you leave… I’ll start letting go of little things till I’m so far away from you, far away from you is a beautiful lyrical rendition of the first thing one needs to survive heartbreak: acceptance (yes, it will be painful and difficult and include Instagram stalking).
‘Writer in the Dark’is hesitantly my favourite of the album, with the cold irony of I’ll love you till my breathing stops,
I’ll love you till you call the cops on me,
but in my darkest hour I stumble on a secret power,
I find a way to be without you babe
playing on the trope of being an obsessive over-emotional lover and then reclaiming the power in that within a single line.
‘Supercut’ pulls the album back to the melancholic dance vibe of ‘Green Light’, as the lyrics address the awkward and confusing in-between ‘we’re “friends”’ post-breakup stage—when you call I forgive and not fight
we were wild and fluorescent, come home to my heart, as you remember brushing their hair out of their face probably isn’t something you can do anymore.
I’ve cried an almost obscene amount of tears to ‘Liability (Reprise).’The simplicity and stoicism in but you’re not what you thought you were, leave never ceases to ease my heart.
I must admit I didn’t like ‘Perfect Places’ when it was released as a single, however within the context of the album about a woman suffering the loss of her first love and coming out older and tougher and more herself but still confused and lost and figuring it out, the question
what the fuck are perfect places anyway?
somehow seems the perfect ending.
Lorde doesn’t know what tomorrow brings and doesn’t need to and so neither do I. Thank you, Lorde, for bringing the melodrama.
Adelaide is finishing off a degree in English and History but likes to do enough theatre to pretend she’s doing a theatre degree instead. She likes the colour burgundy, Netflix documentaries and long walks across sweeping hills