On Melodrama, New Zealand singer Lorde presents a solid sophomore follow up to her 2013 debut, Pure Heroine.

The new album is an exploration into Lorde’s late teenage years and her feelings of being alone after her break-up from her long-time boyfriend. Melodrama outlines both the darker moments and lighter moments of a lonely post-break-up life.

Half-way through the album on “Writer in the Dark,” Lorde sings, “But in our darkest hours, I stumbled on a secret power / I’ll find a way to be without you, babe.” And then later in the song, “I love it here since I’ve stopped needing you.”

On “Liability,” Lorde sings of loving herself after the break-up and finding herself good company, despite her own complications. With a slight rasp she sings, “I guess I’ll go home into the arms of the girl that I love / The only love I haven’t screwed up / She’s so hard to please but she’s a forest fire / I do my best to meet her demands, play at romance / We slow dance in the living room, but all that a stranger would see / Is one girl swaying alone, stroking her cheek.”

As is true for many instances on the album, the imagery is, indeed, slightly melodramatic, as the title of the record makes clear. While this melodrama may grow stale on other artists’ albums, it is completely genuine and careful through Lorde’s pop sound.

The maturity of Lorde’s voice and music causes one to easily forget that she is only 20-years-old at the time of the album’s release. She began to write the album in late 2013, when she was only 17.

Her teenage qualities are understandably splattered across Melodrama but her ability for focused self-reflection and communication of these qualities would most likely dumbfound most adults.

Like her lyrics, her music is mature beyond her years as well. Aided by production from Jack Antonoff, most of the album thumps through the speakers, as most songs have a heavy, yet still upbeat, feel to them. Melodrama‘s first single, “Green Light,” is a wonderful of an example of a song fitting into this rubric. In addition, it also speaks to a teenage hedonism but is twisted in with Lorde’s poignant self-reflection.

Melodrama is not without fault. Musically, several songs sound like near carbon copies of “Green Light,” even with their lyrical variations. If “Green Light,” “Sober,” and “Super Cut,” were layered on top of each other, it would probably sound like a pretty fun mash-up.

As a whole though, Melodrama is more than just a follow-up a widely successful debut album. It is, instead, a stand alone, focused piece of art that largely sets Lorde far apart from her modern pop contemporaries.

Read more about: