Lorde broke out with her debut single “Royals,” a powerful ballad that made a strong statement about social inequality and crass materialism.
But the Queen of Alternative Rock may be having her Bob Dylan moment, or something closely approximating it.
You may recall, Dylan infuriated his folk music fans when he walked out on the stage at the Newport Folk Festival and played an electric guitar.
Now instead of criticizing commercialism, she appears to be engaging in it. The fact that her crown may have slipped is not surprising.
Artists who come out of nowhere with big breakout hits, often fall under the influence of hotshot managers and big record labels who want a more commercial sophomore album.
Lorde sang both songs on “Saturday Night Live” with the same intensity of her previous work. But the music and lyrics were less inspired.
She doesn’t rise above the silly little love songs that dominate pop music and play well with 20-somethings who are dealing with bad-breakups. In that sense, she’s following now, instead of leading.
“I am so proud of this song. It’s very different, and kinda unexpected. It’s complex and funny and sad and joyous and it’ll make you DANCE,” she Tweeted about “Green Light” before the show.
She’s got that right. The song sounds contrived and tailored to be played in clubs and on the radio. It’s the best guarantee of commercial success, although neither song is burning up the charts.
“Liability,” the second single off Melodrama captures a little more of the spirit of Pure Heroine, although it’s hard to get too excited about it.
It’s how you’d expect Lorde to sing a Taylor Swift song.
Is Lorde selling out? It’s too early to say. Hopefully, she’s just still trying to find herself.
This was the New Zealand singer’s first appearance on “SNL,” and she has a heavy concert schedule coming up, another sign that the pressure is on to make Melodrama a big commercial success.
Check out her performance on “SNL.”
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