When the “Royals” singer first exploded on the charts with her debut album, Pure Heroine, she was only 17. Even then, she seemed much older. Now, four years on and with two Grammy Awards under her belt, Lorde (a.k.a. Ella Yelich-O’Connor) is back with more of her quirky, wise-beyond-her-years pop songs. The New Zealand singer-songwriter’s latest documents the current state of her life—wrestling with mixed emotions as she overcomes the loss of her first love and faces up to being single. She’s essentially journaling her personal dramas (the title is a playful knock on herself) and setting them to sounds that mix dance music, hip-hop and classic-pop influences. The album opens with “Green Light,” in which the husky-voiced singer careens through an emotional whirlwind over piano and an infectious, galloping beat. On “The Louvre,” Lorde admits to overthinking punctuation and offers up a memorable, spoken-word chorus about falling in love again: “Broadcast the boom-boom-boom and make ’em all dance to it.” The gothic pop of “Writer in the Dark” channels Kate Bush, with Lorde’s voice soaring in unexpected twists and turns as she guesses that a lover must “rue the day” he met someone as complicated as her. It all adds up to a delightfully oddball, captivating collection.
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