Back in 2017, Lorde released her sophomore album to an anticipated global crowd. Coming off the back of her breakthrough success of track ‘Royals’ and her 2013 debut album Pure Heroine, Melodrama stood to be more electropop than sad pop, its dynamic beats a stark contrast from its melancholic lyrics.
Originally intended to be a dissociative look at fame, Lorde turned the lens more inward after dealing with her first real heartbreak and learning to be alone. Turning one concept into an incredibly detailed 11 tracks, themes of love and loss, house parties and adolescence are apparent as a 20-year-old Lorde grapples with the idea of growing up.
For many reasons, Melodrama was a knockout. It earned Lorde her first number one album in the US, went Gold and Platinum in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, and received an Album of the Year nomination at the following year’s Grammys. It appeared on numerous critics “Best of” lists, appearing in the top 10 of decade and year-end lists from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Consequence of Sound, NME, Genius, and The New York Times. It also scored her Album of the Year at the NZ Music Awards.
Five years on, Melodrama remains one of the best bodies of work Lorde has ever made, and the fact it was created so early on in her career is astonishing. Produced by Jack Antonoff, the album stands as a testament to adolescence and the range of emotions that come with it. While experiencing some of the worst moments of her life, Lorde was also experiencing some of the best, and that colourful juxtaposition is what Melodrama represents beautifully. With its delicate poetry and euphoric synths, its everything a pop record should be, and it remains an iconic part of not just our local music scene but beyond.