The Pop Masterpiece: Green Light

Two years ago on March 2, 2017, New Zealand singer, Lorde released Green Light the lead single of her sophomore album Melodrama. Green Light is an electropop song and has become known as a break-up anthem. Lorde uses the green light as a street signal metaphor that gives her permission to move on into the future after a breakup. It was on several best songs of 2017 end of the year lists. It peaked 19 on the Billboard 100.

Two years ago I wouldn’t have called myself a Lorde fan. Sure just like everyone else I had listened to Royals, her breakout hit from 2013. I didn’t love as much as it seemed everyone else did. I did as Lorde other singles including Team and Tennis Court much better than I did Royals. And that was it for a while. After her debut album, Pure Heroine was released in 2013 (which I didn’t listen to at the time), I didn’t listen to anything else from Lorde. Not until Green Light.

I randomly stumbled upon the Green Light music video. I was on YouTube with nothing to watch so I checked the trending page to see what was trending obviously. And I saw Lorde’s music video for Green Light and said why not and clicked the video. The music video for Green Light was directed by Grant Singer. The video is mostly made up of Lorde dancing and roaming around New York City after a breakup which fits the tone of the song perfectly. Green Light didn’t immediately grab me, I liked it. I didn’t love it like I do now. One curious thing I saw after watching the music video I read the comments (not always a great idea) and unlike critics, a lot of Lorde fans did not enjoy the change of musical style from Pure Heroine.

Pure Heroine was a much darker alternative album than Melodrama. Think of Pure Heroine as the antisocial high school vs. Melodrama being the popular party high school girl. With the release of Green Light, I believe her fans saw that a musical change for Lorde was here. Lorde was 16 when she released Pure Heroine. Four years later, Lorde was no longer a teenager instead she was a 20-year-old young adult. I don’t think her fans were prepared for that change. This is why I think I saw a lot of comments saying she sold out when she released Green Light. Critics may have loved the song, but some of Lorde’s fans were not prepared or wanted a change in her music. Many of them had grown up with Pure Heroine being the soundtrack of their adolescents and just like any kid, they don’t want to grow up nevertheless have their favorite artists grow up too.

Those comments were overshadowed though by many of Lorde’s fans who were all for a change in music. And when Melodrama was finally released in 2017, I didn’t see any more “she sold out” comments, only praise from fans calling the album a masterpiece. And with only a few listens to the album myself, I would too begin to call Melodrama and Green Light masterpieces as well. I loved Melodrama so much that I went back and listened to Pure Heroine. I personally prefer Melodrama (it’s one of my favorite albums ever), but Pure Heroine is a stunning debut album and it’s easy to see why many had grown attached to it. Lorde had so much wisdom for only being 16 when she released Pure Heroine. Her wisdom has only grown as she has gotten older.

Two years ago, I listened to Green Light for the very first time. Two years later, I have listened to Green Light at least more than a hundred times. Enough times that I proudly declare Green Light as one of my favorite songs ever and Lorde is one of my favorite pop singers out today. She’s no longer waiting for the green light because she’s changing the future of pop music right now. I can’t wait to hear what she does next.


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