Melodrama, Lorde’s second offering of shimmering, soaring pop was released on 16th June 2017. A year on, Sophie Williams reflects on her connection with the record, particularly how it shaped the dawn of her first break up and the personal growth, and then some, that came of it.
– – –
I am not one to write in the first person form, let alone one to write about my own personal life. Melodrama, however, is quite the exception.
Over the past year, I have dealt with the fatberg, so to speak, of feelings that has cemented itself in my mind, sometimes blocking the drains of my own inner musings, interrupting the flows of confidence and creativity that continue to form my actions and words. This sludge of emotions began to build up following the demise of my first serious relationship, which was riddled entirely with incompatibility and inelegancy but somehow, almost miraculously, lasted two years. Yes, please give yourself a couple of seconds to let your eyes roll a couple of times over whilst I recompose. (Young love! First love! Puppy love! Get it out of your system now, go on then). Now you have thrown your two cents, let’s get back to it. Said relationship was not all a volatile, raging hormone-fuelled sugar rush of infatuation. Nor was it that life-affirming I-have-found-the-one connection or even a show-stopping, jaw-dropping rhapsody of a romance. However, it was strong enough to let a rather credulous, curious fifteen-year-old girl experience, what now, in retrospect, she thought was true love throughout her formative years.
I am the first to admit that I am both a hypersensitive and a hyper-aware being, given my tendency to often care a little too much, a predicament that has proven true for the most part of the last year. A first love is, by rote, a rite of passage for all of us but the majority let it pass with ease, as in most cases, the end is inevitable. A few months after my own breakup, which no, did not play out like an idealised teen rom-com, I still found myself feeling dumbfounded by the sheer possibility that someone else even liked me but god, loved me. This mindset didn’t slip away like sand from my fingers but instead, stuck with me like that sodding piece of gum on one of my Dr Marten boots as it clung onto me through each and every move.
I was once told that a first love would be easy to forget but I did, for a while, allow myself to fall into a lull, as I became entirely consumed by the what-ifs and make-believe daydreams. I refused to step out of the director’s chair, I refused to put down the clapperboard and I refused to tear up the script of my own overwrought version of events. My own film may not have reached the final scenes, where the couple was supposed to run off into the sun but perhaps the reel was cut short at the right time. The protagonist is now seventeen (and on fire), now a person that she is proud of, not hidden within shadows of self-doubt or under a guise, one that once became awash with alienation.
World, I want you to know that Melodrama has felt like my confidant for the past year. I have exchanged secrets with Melodrama and in return, the album has also opened up to myself, Liability being the glaring example, bearing the harrowing chorus ‘I understand, I’m a liability/get you wild, make you leave’. From the very first listen, my relationship with this album began to flourish as the relationship that was present in my life began to diminish. I made mental notes of the lyrics that the resident choir in my psyche sang back to me every single day, like a litany, as the words and wisdom of the finest pop polymath forced a self-promotion from continuous personal degradation to the upper echelons of self-care. ‘I care for myself the way I used to care about you’, the focal line of transitional track Hard Feelings/Loveless, almost uncannily became my personal mantra, as my room became lauded with candles, books and all that self-love jazz to curtail my erratic emotions.
I began to find myself penning my own innermost thoughts and relations to the album in the midst of that behemoth of a first love, completely oblivious to the fact I was subconsciously relating to what I was listening to. Although my own relationship was a fundamentally different proposition to her own, I found strength in the slightest of numbers as Lorde laid bare about her loss of love across her body of work and in my mind, she became my celebrity counterpart, perhaps, as we recovered, together.
To celebrate the album’s first anniversary I have decided to be brave, *gasps* and share said relations to Melodrama. The record has continued to synchronously both be a potent symbol of my own development and an illustration of the termination of what was essentially a thunderstorm of a relationship; often turbulent, with lightning sparks of passion here and there but glutted with rain clouds of doubt to balance such intensity out. I still find myself accidentally falling into spirals of reflection; albeit, I continue with the comfort knowing, just like Lorde herself, I am not the one who has to rue the day they kissed a writer in the dark.
– – –
Melodrama ushered in an epoch of self-care, built on the foundations of an unrequited love that was falling apart at the seams, only stitched and held together by a thread of rose-coloured memories that lived within the past of the relationship. Melodrama stopped the needle from pulling that thread tighter, stopped my unknowing hands from clenching onto the memories that ultimately proved the future of the relationship to be a mirage, that existed within a realm of false hopes, where previous promises could not suffice.
Melodrama forced and spat out the words which were once bottled up and threw them onto the floor, as conversations that were riddled with distrust of the future smashed into pieces. Melodrama took my hand as I forced myself to dance along to its glowing melodies throughout those final few months, as I tiptoed across the spikes of glass that shattered out of fruitless fallouts. Such a procedure stole every last piece of patience I had, which I still haven’t earned back but time, perhaps, is a healer, just like Melodrama.
Melodrama nurtured a love that was once secluded away for someone else and forced it to transcend its own boundaries in order to take care of oneself, as it transformed the twilight hours that were once reserved for wallowing in self-pity by letting them become a time period for self-discovery. The nights gradually became devoid of the waves of tears that once submerged my former self into the fear of metaphorically drowning.
Melodrama soundtracked the transience of being young and in love, as my own emotions often overpowered reason and Melodrama removed the blindfold away from my own laughably naïve eyes and opened them to a world without compromise, a world which I could build myself without holding back. Melodrama emboldened oneself to follow through with spontaneous, spiritual escapades to rebalance as I began to find myself without the extra weight on my shoulders, on my mind and in my life.
Melodrama was built on the heart that sits at its core, which continued to beat as fast as my own every time a whisper escaped from his lips and waltzed its way across the room, as the words danced through the maze of my goosebumps, creating a paradoxical pathway of both comfort and confusion as I found myself lost in ambivalence for a matter of months. Melodrama was the catalyst of confidence to break off such sheer scepticism, as it shouted at me until I told my reflection that I had made the right decision – to let go.
Words by Sophie Williams