"Perfect Places," the final song on Lorde's masterful Melodrama, perfectly captures the singer's growth in the four years between her first and second albums. Its glorious singalong chorus has the same youthful qualities that made Pure Heroine so endearing, but its subject matter and lyrical content show a huge leap beyond the aimless, well, melodrama of being a teenager.
As the last statement on her newest album, the final words Lorde sings — "What the fuck are perfect places anyway?" — strike a profound chord. And when they spill in harmony out of the mouths of sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg, who make up the folk band First Aid Kit, the effect is dizzying (if a little cleaned up language-wise).
The duo recently took on "Perfect Places" as part of a Live From BBC Radio 2 session that also saw them covering "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," which is only appropriate given the season. Using a rearrangement that highlights the song structure of "Perfect Places" instead of its dense pop rhythm, the song leaps like a smoky country ode more in line with the singer-songwriter music Lorde said she was focusing on while writing the album.
Lorde also rated the cover two doves, presumably out of two. So that's good.
As a final thought, the more holiday-adjacent in-studio takes I hear — like this shining, snowy session from Fifth Harmony, the more I'm convinced they need to become a permanent fixture. Christmas music is good. It's time we all get on board.
If not, at least we can all agree that Lorde can write a hell of a song. And that Melodrama's vinyl editions are coming very, very soon, printed on "juicy blue wax." Get excited.