With anticipation for her upcoming sophomore effort, Melodrama, at a fever pitch, Lorde has retreated back to her favorite place of solace—as an acute observer of everyone else. Even the title of her new Spotify playlist, Homemade Dynamite, feels a bit like a cheeky inside joke pulled from some faded memory. While the 20-year old artist is best known for layering her timeless, soulful voice over a nu-goth aesthetic, Lorde’s other essential quality is that she’s unwaveringly sympathetic towards her listeners.
While most of the songs on Homemade Dynamite could soundtrack a night at the club, Lorde takes the entire evening into consideration with the same meticulous attention to detail heard on her 2013 debut album, Pure Heroine. Similar to the compassionate but authoritative friend everyone should have, Lorde has already anticipated that you’ll need something to perk you up (Amine and Kehlani), something to help soothe your feelings at 3 a.m. (Bon Iver and Weyes Blood), and something to tell you that you are a million bucks the morning after (Santigold).
Under Lorde’s curation, Future’s “Mask Off” and your dad’s favorite Paul Simon song, “Graceland,” feel cut from the same cloth; they are two tales of escapism designed to reach all corners of her audience. These selections are indicative not only of Lorde’s desire to address the extraordinary moments of relatively mundane affairs, but also affirm the experiences of her listeners in the process. Depending on which side of middle age you’re on, ordinary experiences are either aspirational or nostalgic. Lorde’s universal appeal derives from the fact that she consistently accounts for both.