Welcome to my brand new blog. I decided I wanted to talk a bit more about my favorite music, new and old, because my music wouldn't exist without it. I haven't written like this in years so it'll probably take a few weeks to get back into the practice of disciplined writing but I'm going to take a stab at it anyway.
disclaimer: I am by no means a critic, journalist, or trained writer in this medium. BUT I think about this shit every day and want to share with you. Please feel free to interact by commenting, sending me YOUR favorite music (or original music), and/or correcting my grammar. Here we go.
So of course I had to start by addressing the album currently ruling my life, Lorde's Melodrama. It's been less than a week since it's release and I can't get enough of it. The artistry tangled into this album is unlike what I've seen in pop music in recent years. The musical, lyrical, and sonic themes reoccur throughout the record, weaving in and out like a vine linking these tracks together. It's been a while since I've sat down and listened to a pop album top to bottom and felt that was the way it was made to be listened to, like a book with chapters, or a journey with a destination. When I go back to listen to the album it's hard to isolate certain tracks. I want to listen to it from beginning to end over and over again. That's a true testament to the meticulous writing in this album.
Let's talk about the brilliance of the title, Melodrama. One thing I love about songwriting is the ability to freeze feelings into little three minute moments. Often this translates as dramatic because there's no time to be wishy washy or doubtful. You've got three minutes to make your case so you're gunna want to choose your words deliberately and intentionally. Songwriting often cuts out all the "fluff". (The same fluff our high school English teachers specifically told us not to put in our essays but we all did anyway.) Songwriting is certain, direct, and purposeful. In many cases, including Lorde's, this translates to heightened reality, a drama that makes the littlest sound, feeling, or word feel huge.
To me, songwriting is overreacting. It's refusing to move on. It's holding a grudge. It's framing and illuminating the thoughts you get embarrassed you had ten minutes after thinking them. It's taking moments that you'd otherwise let go and putting them in print, forever immortalizing them. It's fucking melodramatic.
lets get specific:
I could write about every single track on this album but I will only talk about a few of my favorites at the moment (deep tracks only, we all know Green Light is and will always be THE fucking jam)
if you ever wanted to know exactly what a heart breaking into a million pieces sounds like, listen to this song. The stripped down track is just a dampened piano and chilling vocal but it feels as huge as her synth and rhythm based tracks. The feeling of being "a little much for everyone" is so isolating and yet so universal. I could talk about how intimate and vulnerable this track is, or you could go listen to it because describing it doesn't come close to doing it justice.
Writer in the Dark
This song is the writer's anthem. The lyrics "Now she's gunna play and sing and lock you in her heart" is exactly the immortalization I mentioned earlier. I can't help but think this line is a bit of a nod to the stereotype of a female songwriter. We've seen this issue addressed in recent years a la Taylor Swift and her song Blank Space (she will be getting her own blog post eventually, don't worry). The "crazy" ex-girlfriend title is an obvious double standard often thrown on female singer-songwriters who write about love and loss. Lorde has no time for that bullshit. It's not "overly emotional" to write a song like this, it's honest. And she committed by doing it so unapologetically. I love this lyric and how she owns the internalization of her heartbreak and addresses the repurposing of it into songs. She sings of it as a strength when many talk of it as a weakness.
Lorde's pre-choruses are basically choruses and I'm not mad about it. The refrain "Bet you rue the day you kissed a writer in the dark" accompanied by single bass notes in the piano is probably my favorite part of this song. The simplicity draws you in before the doubled vocal on the actual chorus, "I am my mother's child" accompanied by full chords and strings. She really plays with the dynamics of this track in such simple ways that hits super hard.
A reoccurring lyrical theme in this album is the phrase "in my head" or "in my mind". I love the little glimpses we get into the vibrant, electric, pounding world inside Lorde's head. In Supercut we, again, get to see her unique perspective of the world. She even goes as far as taking all effects off her vocal toward the end of the song singing "in my head" with a dry sound making the listener feel like they're in the room (maybe even in her head) with her, really getting as close as you can without physically being there.
The best part of the song has to be during the second pre-chorus (Lorde is the unofficial "goddess of the pre-chorus") Under the lyric "In your car, the radio up" she has a driving synth and drum that cuts out completely during the last beat when the vocal stops. That relief of empty space is everything. It's the breath of fresh air we didn't know we needed but are so glad we got.
Thank you Lorde, for sharing your candid, authentic, and melodramatic moments. Please keep them coming. Lorde and her album have come into the pop scene and become the breath of fresh air in a room I didn't realize I was having trouble breathing in.
until next time