Lorde’s new album, Melodrama, is due out June 16, and if singles “Green Light” and “Liability” are any indication, this release will be vastly different from her debut. In a New York Times Magazine profile, Lorde revealed a few previously unknown things about Melodrama. For one, she showed Max Martin “Green Light” shortly before its release, and he wasn’t all that crazy about it.
When Max Martin heard “Green Light” shortly before its release, she told me, “he had a very specific opinion, which had to do with the melodic math — shortening a part.” Martin is probably the greatest pop craftsman alive. Since his late-’90s breakthrough he has written or co-written career-defining singles for Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and the Weeknd. Lorde sought an audience with him a few years ago at his Los Angeles studio, and they stayed in touch. Martin described “Green Light” as a case of “incorrect songwriting,” Lorde said, clarifying that this “wasn’t an insult, just a statement of fact,” and one, furthermore, that she agreed with: “It’s a strange piece of music.” (The press-averse Martin declined to comment.) On top of the left-field key change, “the drums don’t show up on the chorus until halfway through, which creates this other, bizarre part.” But she and Antonoff decided they’d made the song they set out to make, and while “Green Light” hasn’t neared the success of “Royals,” it was validating to her that the song has performed well with its oblong dimensions intact — rising into the Billboard Top 20 in its second week and receiving more than 40 million views on YouTube. When it comes to “melodic math,” Lorde said, “I have a strong awareness of the rules — 60 percent of the time I follow them; 40 percent, I don’t.”
Lorde also implies that Melodrama will be a concept album of sorts that tells the story of a night out at a house party. No word yet on when we can expect a new single.