Lorde – “Green Light” (Singles Going Steady)

Lorde's "Green Light" is the kind of song that will be remembered.

Andrew Paschal: Lorde’s triumphant return is a subtle shapeshifter of a pop song. What starts off as a stern rebuke suddenly ascends into an irresistible piano line, like something snatched from a lost house or disco anthem. In this relatively spare context, it emits a quiet confidence, assembling its broken remains to stare you right in the eye. It strikes me as rare to hear the piano used so artfully and prominently in a pop song that isn’t a ballad. Lorde never dispatches entirely with her ambivalence, but even so “Green Light” sounds totally cathartic by the time it has swelled to its complete proportions. Some of the lyrics could have been honed a little more carefully: “She thinks you love the beach, you’re such a damn liar” is pretty inane, for instance. Is lying about the beach really the most damning piece of evidence Lorde could churn up about her ex? But such details matter little, because as a whole “Green Light” is the kind of song that will be remembered. [9/10]

Mike Schiller: Lorde makes her grand re-entrance with a song that is both completely confounding — in the way that it’s nothing like anything she’s ever done before — and utterly infectious. It’s the type of song you want to hear again immediately after it’s over. For a minute it sounds like the Lorde we know and love, the prone-to-wallowing chanteuse whose anger and cynicism might get the best of her, but then it just explodes. There’s an insistent house beat, there’s a pounding, joyous piano line that recalls Moby at his best moments, and there’s Lorde herself, soaring over the top of it all. In a just world, this would dominate pop radio for the next couple months. That a just-barely-20-year-old has accomplished this is mind-boggling. [10/10]

Adriane Pontecorvo: Lorde turns heartbreak into a catchy dancefloor anthem on “Green Light,” a song that never goes retro but always has a classic feel to it. Simple beats lend their integrity to an uncomplicated structure, making for an easy and appealing pop song. Lorde’s voice is strong enough that it can carry what could be a light breakup tune and give it enough gravitas that jumping up and down to it sounds truly cathartic. “Green Light” doesn’t break barriers, but it gives Lorde ample space to demonstrate her emotional range and vocal strength. [7/10]

Chris Ingalls: Lorde’s “comeback” single is full of surprises, a multifaceted pop gem. Equal parts ballad, dancefloor banger, full-fledged gospel stomper – this song is an enormously catchy single that seems to gather together all of Lorde’s strengths into a four-minute track. It contains so many moving parts yet never sounds overstuffed, and you wish it would last longer. [9/10]

SCORE: 8.75


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