For a minute there, it felt as though Lorde might be suffering from the curse that seems to befall any new artist who wins his or her Grammys too quickly, as she seemed to back in 2014 with her receipt of the awards for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance. At the time, her 2013 debut, Pure Heroine, was leaving critics and music enthusiasts alike completely wet.
So naturally, New Zealand-born Lorde chose to leave us waiting four whole years for her sophomore album, to be entitled, amazingly, Melodrama. The first single and music video to give us a taste of where Lorde’s head is at now that she’s twenty years old (as if even this advanced age by comparison to where she was before is supposed to signify wisdom) is “Green Light.” And yes, everything about the significance of the term “green light” applies to the welcome nature of this song. At once defiant and jubilant, Lorde persists in the same style as before but with, dare one use that old cliche of a phrase, “more maturity.” The video that sets the stage for the both vindictive and “I’ll be just fine” tone of the song features Lorde staring existentially into a bathroom mirror before re-entering the nightclub atmosphere she’s in and taking to the dance floor to exorcise her demons.
From there, we see her singing out from the window of what is probably an Uber (which was me for most of 2011 in a normal cab screaming about how no one would employ me), driving through the streets of L.A. Not necessarily sequential cuts by director Grant Singer lend us an almost internal perspective into the mindset of our heroine who, as Lorde describes, “is that drunk girl at the party dancing around crying about her ex-boyfriend who everyone thinks is a mess.” But it is usually these so-called “messes” that are the most beautiful thanks to how in touch they still are with their emotions.
As such, Lorde pines, “Oh, I wish I could get my things and just let go/I’m waiting for it, that green light, I want it/Sometimes I wake up in a different bedroom/I whisper things, the city sings ’em back to you.” Clearly, she’s trying her best to move on by banging other dudes, but it simply can never compare to the intensity of the love she once had.
At the same time, her contempt for the one who did her wrong is evident as she seethes, “I know about what you did, I wanna scream the truth. She thinks you love the beach, such a damn liar/Those great whites, they have big teeth/Hope they bite you.”
Channeling a younger version of Tilda Swinton at the end of the video, Lorde makes it to the dawn seemingly a calmer and more accepting of reality person. But we’ll see what happens the next time she hits the town in her drunken rage.