Released in September 2013, Lorde‘s ‘Pure Heroine’ album was one of the most arresting debuts in recent memory. More than three years on, fans bewitched by the New Zealand artist’s pin-sharp lyrics, elegant melodies and coolly understated beats are clamouring for her follow-up. Responding to an impatient Instagram follower last summer, Lorde said: “Give up on me if you want to! I write a record when I have enough special stories to tell, and it’s all me, every melody every lyric, not some team who just start the machine up every eighteen months like clockwork. The record is written, we’re in the production stage now. I’ve worked like a dog for a year making this thing great for you guys.”
Predictably, Lorde has kept relatively quiet about the specific contents of this new album, but here’s everything we know about the eagerly-anticipated follow-up so far.
When is the new Lorde album going to be released?
The star appeared in a cryptic advert aired on New Zealand primetime television in February. The advert shows her in the back of a car, nibbling crisps and slurping milkshake, and it’s followed by the dates: “3.2.17 NYC” and “3.3.17 NZ”. This turned out to be for lead single ‘Green Light‘.
Lorde’s label Republic Records recently appeared to let slip a release date for her second record. Its website listed a release as “Lorde (Confidential Title) 3/7”, suggesting a March 7 release – although it wasn’t made clear whether this was a single or album release.
Lorde has yet to confirm a date herself, but some fans reckon she could drop the album unexpectedly like Frank Ocean and Beyoncé. That’s pure speculation, of course, but it wouldn’t be out of character for a young, forward-thinking artist like Lorde to think outside of the box in some way.
In a letter to fans posted on her Facebook page last November, she said: “I just need to keep working a while longer to make it as good as it can be. You’ll have to hold on. The big day is not tomorrow, or even next month realistically, but soon. I know you understand.”
What’s the new Lorde album called?
Lorde revealed the album title after premiering ‘Green Light’ and teasing fans that it began with an ‘m’ and ended with an ‘a’. The big reveal? It’s called ‘Melodrama’ – a title that previously only her mum knew.
The artwork for the album is a painting of the singer lying in bed by Sam McKinniss. She told MistaJam: “I wrote this album about this crazy year of my life, I partied a lot and had all these feelings, it was all so sort of … so I decided to call the album ‘Melodrama’.”
What will it sound like?
Potentially a bit different. ‘Yellow Flicker Beat’, an original song Lorde contributed to the soundtrack of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 in 2014, was co-produced by Adele/Florence collaborator Paul Epworth and boasted a fuller, more bombastic sound than ‘Pure Heroine’.
Then in 2015 Joel Little, who co-wrote every song on ‘Pure Heroine’ and is working with Lorde again on her follow-up, said the pair were “not pigeonholing ourselves in any particular way” but instead were “just trying new things”. He also told Billboard at the time: “We can take the time to make sure we’ve explored every option.”
Around the same time, Lorde said she had been listening to Robyn’s banger ‘Dancing On My Own’ in the recording studio. “It was then when I realised I’m going to be in love with music for the rest of my life,” she told fans in a post on her Tumblr page. “It’s going to be the most important friendship I’ll ever have. I’ll never, ever leave it alone, because you can’t leave alone something like that.”
Lorde has revealed that she worked with Jack Antonoff of Bleachers and fun. on the record. She told BBC Radio 1’s MistaJam: “So we made the whole record with Jack Antonoff of Bleachers and he turned one of the bedrooms in his apartment in Brooklyn into a studio and we worked out the house for the better part of a year; out of this tiny little room covered in bizarre animal wallpaper and made these crazy hip hop drum breaks, it was a good time!”
What has Lorde been doing since ‘Pure Heroine’?
Obviously she curated the soundtrack of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, for which she also recorded a cover of Bright Eyes’ ‘Ladder Song’ and teamed up with Stromae for a track called ‘Meltdown’.
In 2015, she collaborated with Disclosure on their track ‘Magnets’ and gamely contributed to a tongue-in-cheek charity single called ‘Team Ball Player Thing’ that was released in her native New Zealand.
Then in July 2016, she said she had made some “exciting breakthroughs” on the album following a trip to the wilderness.
Also last summer, New Zealand pop duo Broods shared a song called ‘Heartlines’ which they co-wrote with Lorde and their mutual collaborator Joel Little.
Is she touring this year?
Lorde performed ‘Life On Mars?’ as part of the 2016 Brit Awards’ tribute to David Bowie earlier this year, but she hasn’t played a full gig since November 2014.
That’s set to change on March 11, when she makes her live return on Saturday Night Live, in an episode hosted by Scarlett Johansson.
She’s also been confirmed for a handful of big summer festival appearances. She’ll play Coachella (April 14-16 and April 21-23), New Orleans Jazz & Heritage (April 28-May 7), New York Governors Ball (June 2-4), Houston’s FPSF (June 3-4), Bonnaroo (June 8-11), Switzerland’s OpenAir (June 29-July 2), Belgium’s Rock Werchter (June 29-July 2) and Fuji Rock (July 28-30).
She also told MistaJam that, while she couldn’t reveal UK dates yet, she would be over soon. “I think we plan to come over there much sooner than we think, I can’t give you any dates but London is my favourite place in the world to hang out,” she said. “So I just make up excuses to come to London and I think I’ve done that.”
Lorde hinted that she would be making an appearance at Glastonbury this year too. When asked if she would be on a “certain farm in the UK” this summer, she replied: “Farms are cool, I like farms, I’m a big fan of farms! Who knows! I do love a farm, that’s all I’m going to say.”