The outsider remains a powerful archetype, which is why even superstars like Taylor Swift – who quickly struck up an oft-photographed friendship with Lorde – try to present themselves that way.
So on her follow-up album, “Melodrama,” Lorde, 20, still wants us to think of her as someone in a state of opposition.
What made “Royals” work, of course, wasn’t the awkwardness that Lorde was describing but the strength with which she described it.
Which Lorde made primarily with producer Jack Antonoff, is full of moments in which she claims she’s falling apart, barely able to keep herself together – a self-styled alternative to the glamazons that rule Top 40 radio.
“Melodrama” is so much more potent when Lorde is owning her newfound authority, as in the album’s dizzying opening track, “Green Light,” in which she urges a lover to follow her “Wver I go” over a surging house groove that keeps escalating in intensity.
She’s equally convincing in “Supercut,” a fizzy electro-pop jam about a relationship that was “Wild and fluorescent.” Lorde says she’ll “Be your violent overnight rush, make you crazy over my touch,” then reveals that she’s merely looking back at memories of a broken romance.