Every Friday, a slew of new music videos hits the web. Watching them at your desk is not time theft because you deserve it; think of it as a nice reward for surviving another work week. But what if you don’t have time to watch every video — maybe you have a deadline, a hungry pet, or other grown-up concerns. In consideration of your schedule, Lizzie and Kaitlyn present a new series called One Video. Each week we’ll tell you “one video” you need to watch, why, and for how long.
Kaitlyn Tiffany: It’s Thursday. This is a special emergency edition of “One Video with Kaitlyn and Lizzie,” a feature that we usually publish on Fridays. Thank goodness. Finally some stakes and some drama for this column, the tone of which has been so calm for so long (four weeks, exactly as long as it has existed).
Lizzie Plaugic: It only took one month for us to get an emergency edition, which I think is a testament to the way the music industry relies on suspense and surprise — like a boring but prolific mystery writer.
Kaitlyn: I think it’s a testament to how much we generally keep our cool: about four-fifths of the time!
This week’s video: “Green Light” by Lorde
Kaitlyn: Today we’re gathered to watch the Grant Singer-directed video for “Green Light,” Lorde’s first non-movie-soundtrack-single in three and a half years. Her first album, Pure Heroine, was released in the fall of 2013 and caused a little earthquake — as a prodigious teen songwriter turning out a nearly perfect collection of songs about 21st century suburban angst and class envy and end-of-the-world paranoia out of nowhere is likely to do. Introduce me to someone who doesn’t love this album, I dare you.
It’s been a very long time since the fall of 2013, I don’t need to tell you. So it’s hard to overstate how much anticipation has boiled up around the young New Zealander’s forthcoming sophomore album (now officially called Melodrama), and it’s also hard to admit that there was no way any song Lorde released was going to live up to our expectations.
Lizzie: Lorde made us wait several years for this, and she really milked it, too, teasing bits of it at a time and watching her fans grovel for choruses. The song, “Green Light,” is fine, but this whole thing is kind of like that friend who keeps promising to take you to a great new restaurant, and then when she does — almost four years later — it turns out to be a Chop’t.
What is the “green light” in this video?
Kaitlyn: I feel like the “green light” in this video is a metaphor...
Lizzie: A metaphor... for green lights, and going places.
Kaitlyn: Maybe a metaphor for going... to release the new album soon! I hope!
What’s special about “Green Light” by Lorde:
Lizzie: What’s special about this video is that... this is it. Lorde at a bar, Lorde under some flashing lights, Lorde with her head out of the window of a car. It’s all such obvious music video stuff and yet Lorde delivers it like it’s something we’re going to have to put in the time capsule for the aliens. I was convinced of the video’s importance before I even watched it, so it seems like the plan worked.
Kaitlyn: I’ll tell you what’s not special and that’s the name. “Green Light” is already the name of famous, recent songs by John Legend and Beyoncé and it’s also a title that has provoked endless tweets about whether the song is a reference to The Great Gatsby. No, honestly, Lorde is not that basic.
What is special is that Lorde is wearing a super cool dress and dancing irreverently on top of an Uber Black. I don’t know when this video was filmed, so I can’t definitively call this a statement allying Lorde with the #DeleteUber movement. I do think it’s a good visual you could repurpose for your own political means if you so chose. Lorde tweeted about a pleasant (if a little awkward) experience in an Uber last July, and a slightly less pleasant experience in an Uber last November. She didn’t tweet about the Uber boycotts, so who knows. She is a mystery, and that — along with her talent — is her charm.
It’s a great moment in a video for a song I’m shockingly not in love with. (Though I do love that Lorde talks about the teeth of “great whites” and “rumors” as if they are the same thing. And I love the opening lyric visual of doing your makeup in a random car. And I love Lorde. Hmm, don’t we all?) What’s special about “Green Light” by Lorde is that even Lorde’s least interesting song is still a great song. Can we all dance now?
How long everyone should watch ‘Green Light’ by Lorde:
Kaitlyn: Start-to-finish because it’s 3PM and I’m guessing if you haven’t already gotten done what you planned to today you aren’t about to do it now. Plus, lots of people will ask you if you’ve experienced “the new Lorde” if they happen to be in a conversation with you that stalls.
Lizzie: I’m also gonna go with “the whole thing,” because this is what you’ve been waiting for, even if you haven’t been waiting for it.