Vevo via Pitchfork

March 12, 2017

Spinning Singles: Lorde, “Green Light”

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Lorde is an icon. She’s the voice of our generation, and old folks are jealous for it. David Brooks and the rest of the fake news media don’t actually think of millennials as hopelessly privileged social media zombies. Instead, they resent that we had Pure Heroine, Lorde’s 2013 opus, where they had disco or whatever your parents promote as “real music.” With Heroine, Lorde delivered an album-length testament to teenage glory, told not by an aged folk singer nostalgic for his pink carnations and his pickup truck, but rather by one of our peers – a precocious 17 year-old already wise about her formative years.

Lorde’s age at the time suggested something akin to a child prodigy, but it also proved an essential component to her songwriting. George Orwell once said that whoever writes about their childhood “must beware of exaggeration and self-pity.” On Heroine, Lorde deftly avoided both, treating the all-too-real emotions of our teenage years with an honesty not yet distorted by nostalgia or dismissed by jadedness.

Now at the grand old age of 20, Lorde has reemerged from her extended silence bearing gifts—the single “Green Light” and the promise of a new album, Melodrama. The song is essentially a breakup anthem, but delivered with an alien intensity unique to the young pop star (as embodied by her I-dare-you-to-look-away gaze in the accompanying music video). It builds in a way that jars the listener, starting slowly as Lorde delivers spiteful blows to a former lover (“She thinks you love the beach, you’re such a damn liar”) before shifting into a feverish, admittedly frightening falsetto. The transitions might make for a confusing first listen, but all is forgiven by the time that euphoric piano loop kicks in, and the palpable contempt of the verses gives way to pop music catharsis. Try as you might, you’ll crank the volume every time.

Chris Stanton is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at [email protected].