It’s been four long years since Kiwi wunderkind singer-songwriter Lorde became a radio and pop music sensation with her angsty, percussive anthem “Royals” and debut album Pure Heroine. In the meantime, the artist has become best friends with Taylor Swift, performed at festivals and shows around the world and left her teen years behind when she turned 20 last November. For the last few months, she’s been slowly teasing new music. And now, she’s finally going to make good on the promise of a follow-up album with a lead single out March 2. Here’s everything we know so far about what’s coming next.
The album will tackle a whole new set of themes. In the lead-up to her 20th birthday, Lorde shared a personal and poetic Facebook post documenting what fans could expect, noting that the lyrics were the “best I’ve written in my life” and that the album covered new, emotional ground related to growing up and having fresh experiences. “The party is about to start. I am about to show you the new world,” she wrote. If Pure Heroine was an ode to the ups and downs of the teenage years, then this next chapter will be about a more mature life stage.
But it will still be heavily influenced by the pop she loves. In a series of tweets praising the musician Kehlani, Lorde mused on the power of pop:
Jack Antonoff of the Bleachers spent time with her in the studio. Besides being a guitarist and independent artist, Antonoff is an active collaborator with a number of other musicians, from Grimes to Janelle Monáe. He’s also the boyfriend of Girls creator (and Lorde’s friend) Lena Dunham.
March 2 might mark the first single’s release. The obscure first snippet of music can be heard on a cryptic website, imwaitingforit.com, that features Lorde chilling in the backseat of a car with a nonplussed driver. She sips a soda, and we hear a few bars of an upbeat tune before the video cuts, leaving us with two messages: March 2, New York City, and March 3, New Zealand. (Also of note: the site’s other title is “M*******A,” which could be the as yet unrevealed album title.) She also changed her Twitter profile and bio on Feb. 28, to align with the release of the site.
Another update includes some very specific times to check in. Superfans will be setting their alarms to make sure they hit up Lorde’s Twitter (and the imwaitingforit.com site) as she directed, starting Tuesday.
New Zealand fans got a sneak peek on March 1. Lorde broadcast the location of three mysterious installations—an abandoned car filled with green light, a green-lit projection playing a 5-second music clip of the new single believed to be called “Green Light,” and a neon sign with potential lyrics—that fans could check out for themselves.
She’s performing on Saturday Night Live on March 11. Expect at least a few new songs ready to go for her big return to the live performance spotlight. The evening’s host will be Scarlett Johansson.
She’s booked to play at a bunch of music festivals this summer. Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Governors Ball are just a few of the big gigs that have Lorde listed on the lineups. It would make sense for her to have a new set list by then.
This is going to be a highly personal album—and one she’s spent a lot of time creating. In August, Lorde responded to a frustrated fan by urging a bit of patience. “I’m an artist, I write a record when I have enough special stories to tell, and it’s all me,” she explained on Instagram. “I’ve worked like a dog for a year making this thing great for you guys.” In November, she was already teasing her new work, noting that she was listening to the songs on standard Apple earbuds so she could understand just how fans would consume it, too.
And now, we wait for Lorde to bless us.
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