Lorde’s “Melodrama” has immediately joined the classic ranks of singer-songwriter records about unmitigated heartbreak. Its contemporaries include Beck’s “Sea Change,” Joni Mitchell’s “Blue,” Kanye’s “808s and Heartbreak,” the list goes on. But Lorde is only 20 years old and those other elegies were written by people far more seasoned in the art of tainted love. That gives "Melodrama" a freshness — the sound of a new wound healing in real time with no past experiences to buffer the damage. Lorde is also an incredible writer, and offers a uniquely millennial narration of the anguish she’s feeling — I don’t think Graham Nash will compare a breakup to a YouTube supercut anytime soon.
So we gathered 20 lyrics from the entire Lorde discography you can use to help make sense of the world. She’s only two albums deep, but she’s on track to deliver more wisdom over the course of her career than any other pop star this decade.
1 . “I’m waiting for it / that green light / I want it”
Song: “Green Light”
It’s important to remember that even when a boy or a girl is driving you crazy, eventually you’ll get over them if you keep your eyes fixed on the green light ahead of you.
2. “It’s time we danced with the truth”
As much as it hurts, it’s important to occasionally come face-to-face with heartache. You will either heal or break up for good. And whatever happens will be the right thing to do.
3. “These visions never stop / these ribbons wrap me up / but when I reach for you / there’s just a supercut”
When you’re away from someone for a while, you instinctually forget about all the reasons you weren’t compatible in the first place. So keep that in mind before sending a poorly timed late-night text.
4. “Living in the ruins of a palace in my dreams / and you know we’re on each other’s team”
If you feel isolated in a microscopic city that most people couldn’t find on a map, your best bet is to find a good group of friends who will make you feel less alone.
5. “So I guess I’ll go home into the arms of the girl that I love / the only love I haven’t screwed up”
It’s almost redundant to say, but the absolute best thing you can do when you’re going through a breakup is to love yourself. Loving yourself is the only real way to get back on your feet.
6. “We’re reeling through the midnight streets / and I’ve never felt more alone / it drives you crazy getting old”
Aging, even in the juvenile way, can be a sobering experience. This song is about a house party Lorde had as a teenager when her parents were out for the week. So if you’re young and still feel the occasional pang of lost innocence, Lorde is here to let you know you’re not alone.
7. “Cause I remember the rush / when forever was us / before all the winds of regret and mistrust"
Song: “Hard Feelings/Loveless”
Sometimes you don’t end up spending your life with the person you planned on marrying. It’s an experience that befalls practically everyone on Earth, and it can be incredibly disorienting.
8. “In my head I do everything right / when you call I forgive and not fight”
If only we had the benefit of hindsight in the midst of extremely charged emotional situations. Don’t beat yourself up too much, okay?
9. "I am your sweetheart psychopathic crush / drink up your movements still can’t get enough / I overthink your punctuation use / not your fault just a thing that my mind do"
Song: “The Louvre”
It can be fun to be a little bit crazy with someone. Lorde is aware that this relationship is probably dangerous and unsustainable. But she’s not thinking about that right now. Also, if anyone else has ever obsessed over something as minute as punctuation, know that you’re not alone.
10. “Now I can’t stand to be alone / let’s go to perfect places”
Song: “Perfect Places”
When you’re reeling from a breakup and feeling unhealthy, it can be a decent coping mechanism to stay up til 4 a.m. with your friends in an endless party binge. Just don’t overdo it, okay?
11. “Bet you rue the day you kissed a writer in the dark”
Song: “Writer in the Dark”
If you want to love and leave a creative person, that’s fine, but you should expect your treachery to be permanently immortalized in her art.
12. “I call and you come through / blow all my friendships to sit in hell with you”
Song: “The Louvre”
How do you know you’re truly smitten? When you leave all your friends on read to hide out and do absolutely nothing with your lover.
13. “Don’t you think it’s boring how people talk?”
Song: “Tennis Court”
We all occasionally have the moment where the banality of casual conversation sends us into a tailspin. Which, frankly, is why we turn to art.
14. “Explosions on TV / and all the girls with heads inside a dream / so now we live beside the pool where everything is good”
Song: “Buzzcut Season”
The world is a stressful place, and if you pay too much attention you’ll spend every waking moment in complete dread. It’s good to know what’s going on, but it’s also important to try and enjoy your life as best you can.
15. “They’ll talk about us and discover how we kissed and killed each other”
Song: “Sober II (Melodrama)”
Have you ever had a drunken fight with a significant other? Have you ever wondered how your friends really feel about your relationship as you’re tearing each other apart? Yeah, Lorde does too.
16. “Hated hearing my name on the lips of a crowd / did my best to exist just for you”
Song: “Writer in the Dark”
Here’s a pro tip. If you’re dating someone who is jealous enough to make it seem like your success is a personal liability, you need to leave that person immediately and never look back.
17. “I’ll give you my best side / tell you all my best lies”
Song: “Homemade Dynamite”
This, in a nutshell, is the modern flirtation process. It’s kinda crazy when you think about it.
18. “We’re never done with killing time / can I kill it with you?”
Song: “400 Lux”
The monotony of suburban existence gets a lot more thrilling when you meet someone who excites you on a genuine, human level.
19. “We were wild and fluorescent / come home to my heart”
Even in a moment where she admits that so much of her relationship was broken, Lorde takes a few moments to remember the good times. Because there will always be good times, no matter how bad it might’ve been. Accepting those memories as a part of your life is the final step of getting over someone.
20. “And we’ll never be royals / it don’t run in our blood”
The song that made Lorde famous is still as prescient as ever. It will always be more rewarding to carve your own path and let the chips fall as they may.