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Green Light (Universal)

Lorde’s back and she’s not the same girl.

Heartbreak and dancebeats, release and pop define the first single from New Zealand’s biggest musical export whose debut album, made when she was 16, reached number one around the world and scooped up a bunch of Grammys.

As she says in Green Light, “brand new sounds in my mind” and the now-20-year-old Ella Yelich-O’Connor is not joking. Instead of the more clipped and spare sounds of her early hits, such as Royal, this new song arrives with a big, throw-your-hands-in-the-air chorus exploding out verses moving on solid dance beats and House piano.

The first song from the tellingly titled second album, Melodrama, is a song spotted with anger about a breakup (“She thinks you love the beach; you’re such a damn liar”) and memories of the euphoria in the better days of this now defunct relationship (“did it frighten you how he kissed on the light-up floor?”).

But it’s also already looking forward to the recovery, the permission she’s giving herself to move on: “I’m waiting for it, that green light, I want it”.

In the filmclip, Lorde moves from an intense close up in a bathroom to the release of dancing on top of a car, via what looks like Los Angeles streets stripped of glamour, throwing herself into the dance.

If it feels like some kind of abandonment it was intentional, Lorde telling Billboard that the joyous sound is “that drunk girl at the party dancing around crying about her ex-boyfriend who everyone thinks is a mess. That’s her tonight and tomorrow she starts to rebuild”.

Since Lorde’s debut, Pure Heroine in 2013, the only music heard from her was a song from one of the Hunger Games films soundtracks. Melodrama is expected mid-year.

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