Lorde aspires to write a hit as moving as Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream, insisting the song reminded her of the work of David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, and Neil Young.
The Royals hitmaker is best friends with Taylor Swift, but that hasn’t stopped Lorde from admiring the tunes of her nemesis Katy, and she pinpoints 2010’s nostalgic Teenage Dream as a truly sacred piece of pop magic.
“There’s this sadness about it, where you feel young listening to it, but you feel impermanence at the same time,” Lorde tells The New York Times Magazine. “When I put that song on, I’m as moved as I am by anything by David Bowie, by Fleetwood Mac, by Neil Young. It lets you feel something you didn’t know you needed to feel. There’s something holy about it.”
The New Zealand native tried to channel those feelings into her new album, Melodrama, as she worked on mastering the art of pop songwriting.
“I have such reverence for the form,” she explains. “A lot of musicians think they can do pop, and the ones who don’t succeed are the ones who don’t have the reverence – who think it’s just a dumb version of other music. You need to be awe-struck.”
Lorde, 20, admits it wasn’t easy at first to get back into songwriting mode, after enjoying a hiatus following the huge success of her 2013 debut Pure Heroine, but her 2015 split from longterm boyfriend James Lowe gave her the inspiration she had been searching for.
“After your heart is broken, music enters you on a new level,” she shares. “You suddenly find yourself crying when (Alicia Keys song) Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart comes on.”
However, Lorde insists Melodrama is no “break-up album”, and is instead a concept piece about a house party: “It’s a record about being alone,” she says. “The good parts and the bad parts.”
“With a party, there’s that moment where a great song comes on and you’re ecstatic,” she continues, “and then there’s that moment later on where you’re alone in the bathroom, looking in the mirror, you don’t think you look good, and you start feeling horrible.”
Melodrama is set for release in June (17).