2013 was a memorable year- a bunch of white-nosed Hollywood execs actually thought that a group of sharks swirling around in a tornado and terrorizing a city was a good idea (see: Sharknado) and Seth MacFarlane somehow managed to be more alienating than Jimmy Kimmel while hosting the Oscars. (Remember how hilarious everyone thought his domestic violence jokes were? No? How about the body-shaming? If the 2017 Grammys taught us anything it’s that you don’t.touch.Adele.)
While we were all distracted by M Obama’s fly af bangs and JBiebs peeing in a bucket, Ella Yelich-O’Connor released her first self-penned smash hit “Royals” after developing buzz for the track with a five song EP titled The Love Club on SoundCloud in November 2012. (Because there was a time when SoundCloud wasn’t just for rappers yelling “you already know who dis is” into the microphone on their Macs.)
That August, Lorde, as we now know her had her first U.S. performance at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge— marking the start of her impressive ascent as she went on to collect Grammys for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance.
While her meteoric rise to one-name fame has of course happened before (See: Madonna, Rihanna, Ilana), what she did after becoming a household name has not. Unlike her BFF T-Swift, Lorde did not capitalize on the opportunity to churn out a yearly album and rake in the cash like normies rake their leaves but instead she shrunk away from the public eye to focus on who she needed to be for herself, not who the world needed her to be. With the poetic, evocative delicacy that Lorde is known for, she penned to her fans via an emotional Facebook post:
“I turned inwards to my friends, my family, towards this moment, so I could learn more about who I was, and so I could let this new project show itself to me. And oh my god, it was a colossal year! One for the ages. I maxed out every single emotion I have in the best possible way. My heart broke. I moved out of home and into the city and I made new friends and started to realize that no-one is just good or bad, that everyone is both. I started to discover in a profound, scary, blood-aching way who I was when I was alone, what I did when I did things only for myself. I was reckless and graceless and terrifying and tender. I threw sprawling parties and sat in restaurants until the early hours, learning what it’s like to be an adult, even talking like one sometimes, until I caught myself. All I wanted to do was dance. I whispered into ears and let my eyes blaze on high and for the first time I felt this intimate, empire-sized inner power.”
So, with four years spent exploring the exciting, life-giving (and tbh terrifying) emotional minefield that is teenage angst and fire, with public outings defined by her seat in T-Swift’s much-coveted #squad, Lorde turned 20 and decided she was ready. Her black heels now firmly planted in adulthood, she teased her sophomore album Melodrama on Twitter and gave us the first single with accompanying music video, “Green Light.”
finally, here it is: the first single from my sophomore album, Melodrama… THIS IS GREEN LIGHT ❇️ https://t.co/chGRzjXdYs
— Lorde (@lorde) March 2, 2017
If this break is the period of reflection Lorde needed to deliver this magnetic blend of heartbreak and vibrancy, back-lit by both the grunge and electricity of the city skyline, we’re not complaining anymore.
“Green Light” is the much-anticipated proof of this new brand of Lorde- the one she’s been teasing on social media and in interviews- her signature timbre blended with this fresh, mature lyricism…and now we’re even more desperate for the forthcoming release of Melodrama.