According to Lorde, the song was the moment of epiphany for her entire second album. "It had to be really special and really singular, and it couldn't sound the same as the old stuff and there was a lot of discovery that went on," she explained to Lowe. "And then wrote the song and I was like, 'Oh shit, this is it.' This was kinda the first thing that we really… all of a sudden everything else we’d written for the record started to make sense."
Lorde also explained about the song's subject matter -- which, in contrast to the song's addictive hooks dance-floor-ready beat, is actually pretty heavy:
"The song is actually about a heartbreak. And it's not something that I really am used to writing about. It took me a while to be able to figure out how to write about that. It was my first major heartbreak. And the song is really about those moments kind of immediately after your life changes and about all the silly little things that you gravitate towards. I say, 'She thinks you love the beach, you’re such a liar.' What the f--k, she thinks you like the beach?! You don’t like the beach! It’s those little stupid things. It sounds so happy and then the lyrics are so intense obviously. And I realized I was like, 'How come this thing is coming out so joyous sounding?' And I realized this is that drunk girl at the party dancing around crying about her ex boyfriend who everyone thinks is a mess. That’s her tonight and tomorrow she starts to rebuild. And that’s the song for me."
Earlier in the week, the "Royals" singer promoted the song in the streets of New Zealand. The guerilla marketing campaign included a car flashing a green strobe light, a green-lit wall playing a snippet of the tune, and some lyrics displayed on a green sign hovered by green drones. She followed that up by uploading a short clip of the song's music video on a website (iamwaitingforit.com) with the cryptic message "M******A", which could possibly be a clue for the album's title.
The "Royals" singer had previously promised that "Green Light" would be a more upbeat tune from her previous work that "will make [us] DANCE". According to the 20 year old New Zealander, her new album's music will recapture "the last 2 wild florescent years of [her] life".
Fans and critics have waited those two years for new music since the release of "Yellow Flicker Beat", an art-pop cut from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 soundtrack back in Sept. 2014, and for a new album since 2013's Pure Heroine (which debuted at No. 3 on Billboard 200).