Lorde Loves Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream’, And Other Things We Learnt From Her New Interview
“When I put that song on, I’m as moved as I am by anything by David Bowie."
On June 16 Lorde will release Melodrama, a second album some four years in the make.
Unlike Pure Heroine – which was written at home in Auckland, while its protagonist was young and in love, going to house parties sober to make sure she didn’t forget any of the teenage rituals her lyrics were documenting – this album was recorded half a world away in New York, after her first break-up, while she learned the good and bad parts of being alone. In her words: “With Melodrama I went to the party and got drunk.”
The themes might be different for album number two, but Lorde is still writing pop tracks — a genre she’s discussed at length with writer Jonah Weiner in a new interview with The New York Times. “A lot of musicians think they can do pop, and the ones who don’t succeed are the ones who don’t have the reverence — who think it’s just a dumb version of other music,” she says. “You need to be awe-struck.”
Here’s some of what Lorde had to say in the interview:
On Katy Perry
If you’re looking for perfect pop tracks, says Lorde, you don’t have to go much further than Katy Perry’s 2010 hit ‘Teenage Dream’.
“There’s this sadness about it, where you feel young listening to it, but you feel impermanence at the same time,” she told the New York Times. “When I put that song on, I’m as moved as I am by anything by David Bowie, by Fleetwood Mac, by Neil Young. It lets you feel something you didn’t know you needed to feel. There’s something holy about it.”
On ‘Green Light’ And The Maths Of Pop Music
Apparently Swedish super-producer Max Martin — who has made tracks for the likes of Britney Spears, Ariana Grande, and Taylor Swift — wanted to make changes to ‘Green Light’. He described the single as a piece of “incorrect songwriting” – something Lorde took as a “statement of fact” rather than an insult. “Had a very specific opinion, which had to do with the melodic math — shortening a part.”
“It’s a strange piece of music… the drums don’t show up on the chorus until halfway through, which creates this other, bizarre part,” she concedes. “I have a strong awareness of the rules — 60 percent of the time I follow them; 40 percent, I don’t.”
On The Concept Behind Melodrama
Lorde started writing Melodrama around three years ago, and says it tells the story of “a single house party”.
“With a party, there’s that moment where a great song comes on and you’re ecstatic,” she told the Times, “and then there’s that moment later on where you’re alone in the bathroom, looking in the mirror, you don’t think you look good, and you start feeling horrible.”
A big influence on the songwriting was her split with boyfriend, photographer James Lowe, in 2015. “After your heart is broken, music enters you on a new level,” says Lorde. “You suddenly find yourself crying when ‘Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart’”.
Head to the New York Times to read the full profile.