The husky, coy singing style of New Zealand songwriter Lorde fits in well with other contemporary pop, but her piano-laden arrangements are more suggestive of Tori Amos or Regina Spektor than Halsey or K.Flay. Alongside her elaborate stage presentations, Melodrama
reminds listeners that she values music as art, yet rarely comes across as pretentious. The album begins with the insistent “Green Light” and careens through a variety of stylist approaches, including the strident piano of “Liability.” Taken as a whole, it’s more conceptually grounded than Lorde’s 2013 debut, Pure Heroine
. And while her lyrical concerns about insincere lovers and vacuous parties may seem a bit superficial, it helps to remember that Lorde has yet to hit 21. We’ll hear angsty existentialism and political laments soon enough. For now, Lorde’s second album reminds us that she brings major lyricism and arranging talents to the table.
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Regina Spektor, Lana Del Rey, Banks