Lorde: Perfect Places Review
by Niy Birden
For the past few months, New Zealand-bread crooner Lorde has been blessing us with single after single from her new soon-to-be-released sophomore album, Melodrama. It comes after nearly 4 years since her debut, Pure Heroine, in which we got to have a dark, gloomy and refreshingly mysterious introduction to the teen with the millennial world in her pocket. And now she is back to remind us that she can still knock out a few hits or two, whilst still somehow being able to get away with her normal teenage rampage.
While her prior singles “Green Light” is her aggressive take on her “first major heartbreak” and “Liability” is on the take of yet another failed relationship, Perfect Places seems to give us more insight into what goes on in this mysterious heroine’s mind.
The song starts off with her two voices layered on top of each other, almost as close to each other as the teens who dance and grind together at parties that she regularly complains about in her songs, so much that you would actually question for a moment if you were just losing your mind rather than hearing two voices singing a normal melody. The lower voice is soft and brooding, the kind of voice you would hear in some kind of art film in which the main character starts going mentally insane, but in the best way that wouldn’t harm them.
If you didn’t pay close attention to the lyrics, the song would actually sound pretty upbeat and happy, which is one of her main techniques of attack. Considering the fact that the song talks about the prospects of finding an escape in some shape or form, the opening lyrics “Every night I live and die” seems to perfectly place the listener in the perfect mindset to how she views such a search. As a contributor to the Genius lyrics analysis, she writes:
“…my life was like a weird little etch-a-sketch i kept scribbling on and resetting. and all last summer, i couldn’t shake the feeling that everyone i knew or saw was searching for something – trying to transcend the news and the screaming pavements, drinking that one drink hoping it’d get them someplace higher. this song comes from that endless cycle of evenings and the violent heat of the summer”
Slowly, the songs rises into its normal alt-pop anthem chorus, having layered vocals with the perfect amount of reverb in it to bring you back to that first time you heard some of her previous songs such as “Team”. In fact, aside from a few accentuated drum beats, the accompanying electro drums have a nearly- imitated beat. And just like with Team, you hear a nice sprinkle of synthesizers throughout the song, except now instead of buzzy horns, it seems to be more of a guitar, which sounds similar to one of the backing voices screaming the chorus in unison.
It continues with the next verse and finally comes to its repeating chorus, and right before it ends, brings out the accentuated high hats, which automatically gives you a sense of either 80’s rock and pop, or even today’s trap; your choice. And finally, with a piano that sounds as genuine as someone playing it while singing the song themselves, the song comes to its originally-composed balladry ending and reminds us once again, of the melancholy beauty of youth.
Thematically, this is her usual invitation to her no-longer (she is 20 years old) teenage life. “I’m 19 and on fire”, which confirms the timeframe of when she wrote it and “I hate the headlines and the weather” which she has mentioned “is probably the most Melodrama line on the whole album”, which, makes perfect sense, as it is the closing song for the album as well. Oh and is that the F-bomb being sung? You heard correctly. One could argue that this is a newly aggressive Lorde, but in fact, for her first EP before her America fame on her song “Tennis Court”, she so calmly sings “How can I fuck with the fun again when I’m known?”. If anything, Lorde is just reassuring us that she really hasn’t changed. But in this case, it’s a great thing.
With these impressive collection of singles and her recent SNL and Billboard Music Awards performances, Lorde is sure to have yet another successful and impactful album release. Maybe she’ll even curate more songs for another major film, no?