Lorde – “Green Light” (2017)
Lorde is back, and she is following up on a four year wait with one of her most triumphant-sounding tracks yet – the bitterly scorned, irrefutably confident “Green Light.” The track was unveiled yesterday alongside the announcement of her sophomore record Melodrama, set to be released this summer. If the album is anything like the lead single, then we can expect a pretty stark change in Lorde’s approach. Whereas the whole of Pure Heroine possessed a rhythmic, downbeat atmosphere, “Green Light” has an elated chorus while the music video shows her dancing and writhing around the streets and nightclubs of a major city. It might not be the most well-advised comparison to make, but it actually reminds me a lot of Florence & The Machine’s “Shake It Out” (the video too), as darker themes bubbling under the surface are almost exorcised like some sort of ritualistic expulsion of all the demons that try to keep us weighed down in a pit of demise and self-loathing. While “Green Light” may draw from embattled emotions, it sounds as upbeat and inspiring as anything she’s written to date.
The lyrical content revolves around an apparent breakup, featuring lines like “she thinks you love the beach, you’re such a damn liar” and “I wish I could get my things and just let go.” The whole experience of “Green Light” feels like that moment after a relationship ends when it all comes together, and you regain your identity and reclaim your future. I’ve been through it a couple times myself as have most people who are young adults [or older], and it’s an inexplicably joyous feeling when that weight is finally lifted from your shoulders and you can see everything for what it was; and what lies ahead for its ample opportunity instead of what will be missing. For Lorde, as she shouts “I’m waiting for it, that green light, I want it!”, it feels like she’s on the brink of that revelation – having that freedom, or green light, just barely in sight as she runs full speed towards it.
Pop is a fickle genre. There will never be a song that we can all agree on, and “Green Light” will most assuredly divide Lorde’s fanbase a little bit. Those who loved the dark, smokey feel of Pure Heroin will likely take issue with this single digging its feet deep into mainstream pop soil. It will be easy to point out that the track is kind of a mess, like pieces from a different puzzle being shoved together, but that may very well be an accurate reflection of Ella Yelich-O’Connor’s life at this moment. Hopefully for as many people distance themselves from this, though, she gains new followers – because she truly is a remarkable songwriter and “Green Light” demonstrates growth and expansion rather than an attempt to cash in on the sound that won her acclaim to begin with. Sophomore albums are always a dangerous time for young artists, and there’s no telling what the final product Melodrama has in store. However, if “Green Light” is any indication, then colour me excited for this new, euphoric brand of Lorde.