- Universal NZ
Listen to the track below
Imperfection is always a virtue in Lorde’s world—whether it’s the “incorrect songwriting” of her fantastically nonlinear banger “Green Light,” her unchosen solitude on “Liability,” or the manic expressive dancing these new songs inspire within her. She has said that her upcoming second album, Melodrama, charts the trajectory of a single house party, which is a little funny in this context—the searching introspection of these songs doesn't quite scream “rager” yet. But Lorde is a songwriter who still vividly celebrates out-of-step self-possession.
Where does the party end? Melodrama closer “Perfect Places” cuts to the 3 a.m. heart-to-heart. The track slides in on a spacious, charcoal beat à la Pure Heroine’s “Team,” but reality has grown crueler since then. In “Perfect Places,” Lorde’s heroes are dying; she can’t stand the headlines; the weather is disagreeable. The world around is becoming less recognizable, and how to cope? “Now I can’t stand to be alone,” she sings.
If there is an argument to be made for partying as a mechanism of survival, this Lorde song bolsters it. “Perfect Places” is about the extents we go to in order to feel more alive, but it spares no details of “graceless,” grotesque real life—the consequences of “nights spent off our faces.” The promise of the house party is so rarely fulfilled: At any age, you are unlikely to find utopia in a drink and a stranger. By the end of the song, with the raspy inflection of experience, Lorde asks, “What the fuck are perfect places anyway?” There are none. But the path to figuring that out comes close.