Having begun her career with an album of brooding slow-burners, it’s more than a bit of a surprise that Lorde has returned three and a half years later with a single that brims with euphoria. ‘Green Light’ heralds a new Lorde, or at least an evolved one. The moody, wistfulness that characterised much of Pure Heroine is still here, only this time it’s coupled with a big dance chorus – hand claps and all.
Lyrically, ‘Green Light’ sounds like it was written in a frenzy, scribbled in a diary through a red haze of fury or shouted down the phone at half one in the morning. “Those great whites, they have big teeth – hope they bite you,” she drawls, her voice seething with a blend of heartbreak and anger. ‘Green Light’ sees Lorde at her rawest, her thoughts disjointed and meandering but always resting on the same thing, some asshole who lies about liking the beach.
But there’s a sense of resolution, or hope, to be found here. While Lorde may not find the green light she’s seeking, the thump of the chorus leaves no space for wallowing. What flows through ‘Green Light’ is a steely determination, at first bubbling through the jitter of the bridge before erupting into the vast expanse of the chorus.
At times, the choppiness of ‘Green Light’ can feel jarring, the switching between the fizzing tension of the bridge to the piano-led verse not quite transitioning as smoothly as you’d like. The piano itself has its issues, feeling like it’s just sort of standing in, waiting to be replaced by another throbbing synth later on. While the rest of the track hums with an electric buzz, the starkness of the piano occasionally feels out of place.
That said, the positives of ‘Green Light’ far outweigh any minor gripes. It’s carefree yet somehow heavyhearted at the same time, alive with a writhing, vital energy, drunk and confessional, lairy and fuck free. ‘Green Light’ is ultimately a sad-banger done right, marking the start of what promises to be a bright second chapter for everyone’s favourite New Zealander.