Lorde is back with another hypnotic party anthem.
Sober is the fourth song the New Zealander has shared off her forthcoming second album, Melodrama (out June 16), and it's a broody departure from towering first single Green Light.
Over erupting horns and a skittering beat, Lorde (real name: Ella Yelich-O'Connor) recounts the all-too-relatable experience of being unable to express your feelings without some liquid courage.
The song is "about being a little bit involved with someone and it's magic when you are out — you're just king and queen of the weekend, you own the party," Yelich-O'Connor tells USA TODAY. "You're maybe committed and you haven't talked about it, but there's this thing at the back of your mind: 'What's it like when we're not doing this?' I definitely felt like I had moments where I was like, 'I need to get drunk to tell this person how I feel.' I know a lot of young people feel like that.
"There's a moment in the song where it's like, 'We pretend that we just don't care, but we care,' " she continues. "You like someone so much that you pretend it's whatever. That was my moment of being like, 'Ugh, come on! It's so fun, but what's happening?' Because you do care. Everyone always cares when they say they don't."
Sober arrives just a week after the 20-year-old released album closer Perfect Places, a deceptively cheery look at the lengths people go to not feel alone. Lorde co-wrote the introspective dance track with Jack Antonoff in New York last summer, when the looming presidential election weighed heavily on everyone.
"The news was so stressful and I was so aware of the claustrophobic nature of stuff going on," Yelich-O'Connor says. "I was very aware that I was using parties as escapism and a lot of my friends were as well. I feel like last year, everyone was just kind of getting blasted and you were like, 'You're not usually like this.' But it was such a reaction to what an intense year it was for everyone. So that's where that song was born out of. But it took a long time to get the tone right. You don't want it to be preachy or put a narrative onto people."