The end of Feb. and beginning of Mar. are always nostalgic for me. The sky is gray, the snow is melting, the green that’s been hidden all winter is slowly beginning to make its resurgence. Everything seems melancholic, but hopeful.
I first listened to Lorde in the backseat of my best friend’s mom’s Honda. We were approaching our sophomore year of high school, a time I now refer to as the summer of “Royals.”
“You know,” my best friend said, “she’s only a year older than us.”
“Royals” played on repeat for the entirety of that summer, through poolside speakers and the car radios of the upperclassmen who drove us around our small suburban town to bonfires and 24-hour Coney Islands. It became, to me — the naïve, careless 15-year-old that I was — an anthem for the things I could not articulate.
Pure Heroine came out that Sept. My best friend and I danced around her bedroom in our homecoming dresses to “Ribs,” shouting over the music that we should’ve ditched our dates and gone to the dance with each other. We played “No Better” at every party, drunk off of wine coolers purchased by somebody’s mother.
That Oct., I fell into a youthful, foolish kind of small town love that only a 15-year-old could fall into. He was two years older than me and the captain of our high school’s soccer team: the quintessential teenage daydream.
He and I didn’t have much to do but drive around and go for milkshakes at 3:00 a.m. Somehow, though, this was enough. It was magical. It was a feeling I couldn’t put my finger on until I heard “400 Lux,” a song that, then, explained all of the magic in our naïve relationship’s mundanity; and now, it makes me feel 15 with butterflies in my stomach again.
Four years later, which might as well have been a lifetime, I listened to Melodrama for the first time in the backseat of a taxi. I was leaving New York City, the place I’d called home for the summer and had, in turn, fallen terribly in love with. I listened to the album in order, and then over again. I cried hysterically the whole time.
I cried because Melodrama was the first album I’d ever considered mine — one that validated feelings that I’d felt on a conscious level, and simultaneously pulled feelings that I’d never felt out of the depths of my 19-year-old psyche.
Each song was a masterpiece. Each song held a piece of me in it. Each song made the messiness of what it means to be my age OK. Every time I’d become infatuated with the wrong person, every inevitable end of a relationship, every night that ended in a failed quest for belonging — it was all OK.
Lorde’s music has carried me through my naïve adolescence and is still carrying me through my messy transition to adulthood, through backseats and boyfriends and long nights. I’d never quite understood that music has the ability to save someone. But at this moment, if there’s anything that I can say that I understand completely, it’s that Lorde’s music saves me every single day.