When Lorde first released Pure Heroine, she seemed to be a totally different kind of pop-star. Rather than preach the beauty of being a young, party-going teen like popular singers nearly twice her age, Lorde, an actual teenager, was admirably sneering and over it all. “Don’t you think it’s boring how people talk?” she’d start a song, which was nothing new for a teenager to say but certainly felt novel in a chart-topping pop song.
But Lorde isn’t a teen anymore. She’s a young adult, 20 years old, and the singles we have gotten so far from her forthcoming sophomore record Melodrama seem to suggest she’s gotten just a tad more earnest. The personal songwriting of “Liability” and “Green Light,” the latter which mined her recent, public break-up, couldn’t be farther from the sullen and snarky minimalist pop of Pure Heroine.
But her new song “Perfect Places,” the closing song from Melodrama excellently bridges the gap from her teenage ennui to Lorde today. A deceptively cheery song that seems to flip a middle finger to the “perfect places” people write gushy hit songs about. “I don’t know, if they keep telling me where to go, I’ll blow my brains out to the radio,” she sings, after disclosing in typical Lorde fashion that she also hates the headlines and the weather.
“What the fuck are perfect places, anyway?” she asks by the end. She might be an adult now, but on “Perfect Places” Lorde sounds eternally teenaged.