Three and a half years after her debut album took the world by storm, Lorde is back with a single entitled “Green Light” (3/3/2017 via Universal Music Australia). And it was worth every second of the wait. Infused with the clever lyrics and catchy hooks that have become her trademark, as well as a new, lighter tone, “Green Light” demonstrates the versatility of Lorde’s sound and points toward a new path for her music.
Watch: “Green Light” – Lorde
This song, and the gorgeous video that accompanies it, perfectly captures the complexity and contradictions of breaking up with a significant other during your young adult life. Instead of trying to tell a story through the lens of a single emotion, Lorde embraces all her clashing feelings and experiences and cohesively brings them together.
i am so proud of this song. it's very different, and kinda unexpected. it's complex and funny and sad and joyous and it'll make you DANCE
— Lorde (@lorde) March 1, 2017
Lorde’s voice opens the song and ushers us into this new era. The instrumentation is pulled back and simple, allowing her voice to shine through, announcing her return in a grand way.
I do my makeup in somebody else’s car
We order different drinks at the same bars
I know about what you did and I wanna scream
She think you love the beach
You’re such a damn liar
The first verse is dark; the tone is very reminiscent of her debut album. Her lyrics, as always, are deeply personal and shine a new light on seemingly mundane events. But as the piano begins to build, the song takes a new path and embraces a new reality: one of freedom and individuality.
But I hear sounds in my mind
Brand new sounds in my mind
The chorus is irresistible; it is pop at its finest. It is bright, hopeful, and, staying true to her promise, will make you want to dance. The lyrics are simple yet manage to convey the complex push and pull of heartbreak. The backing vocals that accompany her when she sings, “I’m waiting for it, that green light, I want it” are empowering and celebratory. She’s hasn’t moved on yet, but she wants to, and she will.
And as if a new single wasn’t exciting enough, Lorde released a music video, directed by Grant Singer (The Weeknd, ZAYN | Taylor Swift, Phantogram), to accompany it. It opens with a close up of her face, we never directly see the face of anyone else, emphasizing how personal this story is. We follow her as she runs out of the club and gets in the car, sticking her head out the window and singing as she passes through the bright city. They stop in a parking lot and she proceeds to dance on the top of the car while her driver stands by watching, like us, in awe. We are reminded of her quirkiness, how absolutely one of a kind she is, and how special it is for her to be back. She is the central focus of the video from start to finish, announcing her return and reminding us how talented she is as an artist.
If the song and video are any indication of what the album will be like, we are in for a treat. Lorde returns with a song about heartbreak that makes us want to dance, pushing back against expectations and separating this new era of music from her last. “Green Light” is the perfect return for the Queen of Pop. It’s deep. It’s empowering. It’s Lorde. And it’s just the beginning.
Lorde’s sophomore album, Melodrama, expected this summer or winter, is rumored to drop possibly this month. Stay tuned for Atwood Magazine’s review as soon as it does.
cover © Brendan Walter