Lorde brought her insistent, house-inflected single “Green Light” – and a fun-looking karaoke party – to the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on Sunday night. The song will appear on her upcoming Melodrama album, due out June 16.
The New Zealand-born phenom opened her performance in profile, ignoring the audience. The set behind her approximated a cheap karaoke lounge, with red lighting, a dingy couch, impassive friends and an old TV that spat out song lyrics in blocky lettering. “Green Light” ebbs and flows with the vigor of dance music, and as the beat picked up steam, Lorde danced harder and harder. Her denim jacket fell away (revealing a sheer top, bra and high-waisted jeans) and her herky-jerky arms became violent fist pumps. Eventually she left the rhythm behind completely: as the song ended, she jumped up and down with abandon.
When Lorde returned in March with “Green Light,” it marked her first new single as a lead artist since 2014. She followed that a week later with “Liability,” debuted the song “Sober” at an intimate pop-up show before Coachella, and played two other songs, “Homemade Dynamite” and “Melodrama,” live for the first time at the famous festival in Indio, California.
Melodrama is Lorde’s first album since her 2013 debut, Pure Heroine. Released when she was just 16, that album was a resounding success. “We reinvented the wheel by accident [on that LP],” she told Rolling Stone. “It’s sort of a miracle, really.”
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But, she added, “that’s not the thing I was put on this Earth to do – to push things forward every time. Obviously I would want people to like the music, but in terms of being like Drake, how he’s always pushing the culture forward musically? I know what my strengths are, and I think that would have given me a hernia or something.”
Lorde worked on Melodrama with Jack Antonoff, the guitarist in Fun. and leader of Bleachers who also has a sideline in pop production: see Taylor Swift’s “Out of the Woods” and Troye Sivan’s “Heaven,” among others. Antonoff described Melodrama as “a hard album to make.” “If you change a breath on a vocal take, she’ll notice, and she’ll like it or she’ll hate it,” he explained. “It’s a meticulous process with her, and this particular album was an intense journey. I think that’s what it had to be.”