Here at blocland, we like to resist the Musical Hivemind™ by lovingly telling each other to shove their opinion where the sun don’t shine, from time to time.
meat’s tragic story of childhood trauma was moving, and by no means is he required to enjoy what is essentially an exceptional Katy Perry song, but calling “Green Light” the second worst thing he’s ever heard is just dumb and reactionary. I’ve never heard a statement so disrespectful toward the Chainsmokers’ valiant campaign to remove everything that could possibly be mistaken for human from what I like to call “The Seagrams Escapes of Pop Music” (U can haz that tagline for free Chainsmokerz. Happy belated President’s Day).
First thing’s first. If Lorde only wanted to make Katy Perry songs, we would be preparing for her second bloated, 18 song product engineered to produce 5 top-10 singles and maximize streaming metrics. It’s been 4 years without a peep from her. So, naturally, expectations are all over the fucking place.
So, and this might be a understatement, coming back with a song like this is certainly unexpected. Lorde made her name on making dance-pop that didn’t sound like dance pop. “Green Light” is dance-pop that sounds exactly like dance-pop. There’s a formula here, and it’s one we’ve heard a jillion times before. A delicate piano based intro, followed by a jogging verse, the suspenseful bridge, and the euphoric chorus. Rinse. Repeat.
Granted, it sounds perfect (almost too perfect, because Jack Antonoff), it goooeeesss, and it makes me want to dance my ass of but… I didn’t know. On first listen, I found it really fun, and it made me want to the office chair dance. A couple of repeats later, I was a little disappointed, and wasn’t sure if I liked it or not. I didn’t want a Katy Perry song from Lorde. I wanted…
Actually, I didn’t really know what I wanted from he, I realized. More songs that sounded like Pure Heroine would have been nice, for sure, but there she runs the risk of wearing out her schtick. On the other hand, Lorde being postured as the next music industry vehicle is also disappointing, considering how subversive Pure Heroine could be when it was at its best.
Then the Gatsby reference hit me. Tbh, it was the first thing I thought of when I heard the title. Of course, she’s referencing every one’s favorite high-school reading assignment about disaffected rich people. But the more I thought about exactly what I wanted from new Lorde music, the stronger the line “I’m waiting for it. That Green Light. I want it.” stuck out.
Wait, did she somehow pull off one of the most over-alluded allusions in American literature in a fucking Katy Perry song???
For those who don’t remember the Spark Notes, the “Green Light” in The Great Gatsby is a symbol of desire, or more accurately desire of something at a distance. That distance can be anything from a wedding ring, to money, to literal distance, or it can even be as simple as not knowing what you want. I didn’t know what I wanted from a new Lorde song, but damnit if I didn’t want it.
The lyrics also follow a tired and trite trope of pop music; the breakup song. This breakup song lives in the inflection point between the jealous anger phase and the euphoric release of possibility. She’s realizing a goddamn pop star, and now unshackled from That Asshole™, she can let go basically do what ever she wants. And damnit she wants it.
And that’s about it. But it’s just the start. She even said it herself.
it’s the first chapter of a story i’m gonna tell you, the story of the last 2 wild, fluorescent years of my life. this is where we begin
— Lorde (@lorde) March 1, 2017
And tbh, this is not my favorite Lorde song. Hell, it’s not even my favorite Katy Perry song. But it goeees, and more importantly, I want to hear where she’s going with this.