Green Light- Lorde

A few years ago, Lorde killed us all with “Royals,” and then kind of dropped off (minus a song for Mockingjay). Well, now she’s back with “Green Light,” which might actually be the ultimate break up song.

I do my makeup in somebody else’s car
We order different drinks at the same bars
I know about what you did and I wanna scream the truth
She thinks you love the beach, you’re such a damn liar

Right off, we’re getting background on the relationship; they can’t avoid each other, and she is pissed-in the first lines she’s calling him (or her) a liar and proclaiming she’s going to “scream the truth.”

(As for the “ocean” line, Lorde says, “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… What the ****, she thinks you like the beach?! You don’t like the beach!”)

The music works well together, but it’s all over the place at the same time. In the beginning she’s sing-talking slowly. In this next part, it turns into an upbeat electronic/techno feel, especially later in the song when this hook repeats:

Those great whites, they have big teeth
Hope they bite you
Thought you said that you would always be in love
But you’re not in love no more
Did it frighten you
How we kissed when we danced on the light up floor?
On the light up floor

Again, she’s just reminiscing about her past, and hoping that his lies come back to “bite” him.

But I hear sounds in my mind
Brand new sounds in my mind
But honey I’ll be seein’ you ‘ever I go
But honey I’ll be seein’ you down every road
I’m waiting for it, that green light, I want it

‘Cause honey I’ll come get my things, but I can’t let go
I’m waiting for it, that green light, I want it
Oh, I wish I could get my things and just let go
I’m waiting for it, that green light, I want it

The music doesn’t match the words anymore- she’s talking about having to see her ex wherever she goes, yet the beat is upbeat, and Lorde is singing happily, not morosely like you may expect from a break-up song.

The lyrics suggest one story, full of anger and heartbreak, but the music and singing turn it into a dance song, one that’s looking toward a new beginning rather than focusing on the past.

Songs like this are why music reviews can’t just rely on lyrics, but have to take the music into account as well.

 

(Image source credit: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/listen-to-lordes-fiery-new-single-green-light)

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