Diving Into Lorde's Dreamy And Dramatic Album Art

The painter behind the piece, Sam McKinniss, is known for his intense and operatic celebrity portraits.

Lorde revealed the album art for her sophomore album “Melodrama” today, a painting by New York–based artist Sam McKinniss. The image depicts our Lorde and savior tucked into bed, locking the viewer in with her signature intense-as-hell gaze.

McKinniss has described intensity as a core element of his artistic practice, illuminating a parallel between the two artists’ penetrating styles. “I think that’s always been my style really, just looking at pictures intensely,” he told Gayletter in 2013. “Being intense. And see if you can respond in some way to the world that you live in visually with light and color.” 

It’s understandable why an artist obsessed with intensity, light and color is the perfect choice to visualize the album whose first single is called “Green Light,” and was described by Lorde on Twitter as “the story of the last 2 wild, fluorescent years of my life.


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Along with intensity, McKinniss’ paintings, which often feature pop culture icons as their subjects, feed off drama. Talking to ArtNews, he described “human perversity, elegance and drama” as the key motivations behind his work.

In his loving yet slightly depraved depictions of cult celebrities from Lana del Rey to Winona Ryder, McKinniss’ fixation with spectacle is on full view. His painted subjects are drenched in shadow and electric light, elevating them from humans to icons, celebrities to artworks. Sounds just about right for an album called “Melodrama.”

From the little we’ve seen and heard regarding Lorde’s upcoming album, McKinniss’ blend of neon light and dark underbelly makes for a stunning visualization of Lorde’s matured sound. More, please, soon. 

album of the year

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