- Universal NZ
Listen to the track below
Lorde’s house party is in full swing now. The three songs the New Zealand singer previously released from her upcoming album Melodrama have suggested a strange little arc. She found freedom in heartbreak with the Robyn-style dance-pop of “Green Light,” then intimate interpersonal drama in the piano ballad “Liability,” and bleary-eyed wisdom on the album’s protean finale, “Perfect Places.” The fourth song, “Sober,” she debuted at her Coachella pre-show as the first of a two-part track, and fittingly for a part one, it feels transitional, like it’s in motion to somewhere else. Only eight years after Pink’s stadium-sized “Sober” became one of her own biggest hits, and amidst “Sober” singles by everyone from Kelly Clarkson to Childish Gambino, the basic kernel of this song is less novel than we might have been rooting for from Lorde, but the execution here is still tough to deny.
Sonically, “Sober” is pretty intoxicating. Its spare and slinky electro-R&B keeps with much of Pure Heroine or the xx. Stereo-panned mini-Lordes chirp like angels and devils on her shoulders, with dimly lit spaces and triumphal trumpet blares that make co-producer and co-writer Jack Antonoff’s moody three-chord foundation seem like plenty; some credit also goes to the producer Malay, who Lorde has said “cracked the code” on finishing the track. Lyrically, despite a colorful reference to Jack and Jill getting “fucked up and possessive,” the imagery of a weekend more euphoric than pills is a little familiar. Luckily, Lorde is already looking ahead: “What will we do when we’re sober?” she repeats on the chorus. The answer may well be, as she also sings here, “dancing with all the heartache.” “Melodrama,” the “Sober” sequel, is tantalizingly still to come.