Oh, Lorde! What hypnotic spell did you put to come up with a song like “Yellow Flicker Beat?” In authentic Lorde fashion, the song reveals the multidimensional characteristics of the New Zealand singer. The song is a story within a story. Other than representing the movie it sings for, it also epitomizes a tale that even non-fans of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 would definitely relate to. “Yellow Flicker Beat” is now positioning itself to be a milestone soundtrack of this generation. It grabbed a 2015 Golden Globe nomination for the Best Original Song category. Let us just see what chances does Lorde have against fellow nominees Sia, Lana del Rey and John Legend.
While the song resembles the work Lorde did with her Pure Heroine album, it speaks of another facet of the singer – the capacity to resonate from the gut. If you try to listen to the song in different platforms, you will understand what it means to sing from the depths of emotions. On a loud speaker, Lorde takes us to the rise of Katniss Everdeen as a woman and as a protagonist. On a loud earphone, the singer otherwise takes us to our own struggles and how “we rip the start, the color disappears.” Nevertheless, the song takes us on a journey that only the true self can acknowledge.
The song speaks of the multi-genre category of the singer. In the 2014 American Music Awards, Lorde was nominated for both the Best Pop Rock and Best Alternative Rock categories. Thus, it suggests how Lorde is not boxed in one single category. However, it is a double-edged sword for the “Team” songstress. It is difficult to put her music in one category; likewise, it is also challenging to identify her records separately from her other efforts. Is she doing pop? Is she doing rock? Or is she already bordering to goth?
Lorde does not allow any stereotypes to box her music. However, the hybrid of these categories creates a homogeneous sound for the singer. “Yellow Flicker Beat” is the result of this mixture. While it is an exquisitely produced record, “Yellow Flicker Beat” sounds too similar with her other songs, It then gives the impression that the unique and various abilities of Lorde as a singer is only on the façade, as her songs are strikingly similar with each other.
Lyrically, the poetic sensibilities of the song are evident as the verses prove how Lorde is wise beyond her years. As I have mentioned, it does not only talk about the struggles of the movie characters but also the personal struggles of everyone who may be able to relate. The song opens a pool of symbolisms filled with elements of literary relevance. The chorus, for instance, creatively capitalized on the lines “this is the start of how it all ends / I never watch the stars there’s so much down here / Red, orange, yellow flicker beat sparking up my heart.” It’s probably the emotional involvement of Lorde in her songs that made it possible for such powerfully intuitive lyrics to materialize. In a wide array of lyrical pretentions in the industry, it’s easy to select the maturity in this Lorde song as a standout in lyrical triumph.
The maturity of the lyrics of the song is efficaciously supported by Lorde’s vocals, which is deliciously haunting as ever. The song starts with Lorde seemingly narrating her delicate battles. It proceeds to blast a persuasively fast chorus, which was made compelling by the skillfully executed drumbeats. Arguably, the shaky oohs in background work well as it can serve as a metaphor for the imperfect life we all fight against.