Our favorite spooky songstress Lorde is gearing up to release her sophomore album, Melodrama, out June 16 on Republic Records. Pressure on the 20-year-old pop prodigy is intense, considering she hasn't put out a studio album since her massive 2013 breakout, Pure Heroine, which spawned the career-defining single, "Royals." Lorde's forthcoming effort looks to be a triumphant return, however, featuring her off-kilter alt-pop intro, "Green Light," and the introspective piano-led "Liability."
In an exclusive feature with the New York Times, called "The Return of Lorde," she invites journalist Jonah Weiner to experience the Melodrama music-making process with collaborator Bleachers' Jack Antonoff. Together, they visit the New Zealander's favorite New York diner, which spawned much of the album's lyrical inspiration; Weiner also observes Lorde working in-studio with Antonoff, where the two at times painfully work through melodies and production until perfection—or the closest thing to it—is achieved.
Below, we've broken down the NYT profile, detailing 15 total things we now know about Lorde's highly anticipated album.
1. While making Melodrama, Lorde tested out her new material by listening to demos through cheap earbuds on subway rides. She wanted to understand how the music would sound in everyday life.
2. She took lyrical inspiration from overhearing strangers' conversations in New York. Whether a single phrase or full tableau, Lorde would let these memories roll around in her mind for hours.
3. A diner near Colombus Circle, called the Flame, played a major role in developing Melodrama. Lorde spent around four months there last year with her laptop, listening to demos and writing songs for hours at a time.
4. Top 40 radio inspired Lorde's music-making. She'd play tracks by Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado on repeat, as well as Katy Perry's 2010 single, "Teenage Dream." While many artists think pop is "just a dumb version of other music," Lorde said she's awe-struck by the genre.
5. Although Melodrama was written in the wake of Lorde's break-up with longtime boyfriend James Lowe, the LP is not a break-up album. Instead, it's about being alone, both the good and bad parts.
6. In March 2016, Lorde wrote a song, called "Sober," which includes the lyrics, "My hips have missed your hips," and, "What will we do when we're sober?"
7. Melodrama is a cohesive concept album, based on the various moods experienced during a single house party, from ecstasy to self-loathing.
8. Where Lorde's debut album, Pure Heroine, built songs from the drumbeats up, Melodrama was written with a classic approach at the piano.
9. She's written a song, called "Perfect Places," which has gone through many obsessive edits throughout the making of Melodrama. The hook features the lyrics, "Now I can't stand to be alone," though she'd originally written it as, "Now I don't know which way to go."
10. Lorde's written a soft-rock ballad built around piano chords, featuring the lyrics, "Oh, my babe I got hard feelings."
11. While Pure Heroine was closely penned with a musician named Joel Little, Lorde decided to find a new collaborator for Melodrama in order to move beyond the content of her debut album.
12. Lorde spent months working in Antonoff's cozy recording space, which he built in his Brooklyn apartment with girlfriend, Lena Dunham.
13. Because Lorde doesn't play any instruments, she relied heavily on trusted collaborators to create Melodrama.
14. Pure Heroine was written from the perspective of a detached 15-year-old observer, but on Melodrama, Lorde finally "went to the party and got drunk."
15. Although the final tracks are fully produced, Melodrama could be fully played acoustically, much like Joni Mitchell's 1971 album, Blue.