In November 2016, Lorde posted a Facebook update that read: "Writing Pure Heroine was my way of enshrining our teenage glory, putting it up in lights forever so that part of me never dies, and this record – well, this one is about what comes next. ...The party is about to start. I am about to show you the new world." Lorde revealed the title of the album on 2 March 2017.
The album was recorded over an 18-month period with co-writer and co-producer Jack Antonoff.
The album is about a "grapple with loneliness" in the aftermath of a break-up, according to the New York Times. In the article, Lorde mentions that "Melodrama wasn’t a 'breakup album" and stated that "it’s a record about being alone. The good parts and the bad parts, dealing with themes of heartbreak and solitude".
CompositionLorde composed the songs on Melodrama in New Zealand. She described the album as addressing themes of heartbreak, solitude and loneliness, and also as a concept album, telling the story of a single house party. According to the New York Times article, the singer has a "neurological condition known as sound-to-color synesthesia", and devised color codes to each song. It is also noted Lorde wanted to explore a "cathartic mode" for the album. Lorde worked on the album in Jack Antonoff's home studio in New York City.
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