“I’m waiting for it, that Green Light I want it”
Whether it was because of Pitchfork ‘Best New Track recommendation, its inspired appearance at the end of a particularly memorable episode of Girls (when the show was at the height of its popularity) or the track’s obvious brilliance, over the past few years Robyn’s Dancing On My Own has become a hugely influential song.*
Its cathartic, danceable euro-pop, took the best of Ultravox and Donna Summers sad disco to goosebump raising new levels, is rightly revered by music critics and spawned a thousand ‘EDM DJ with featured singer’ and pop doppelgängers that each failed to match its greatness. That is until now.
Step forward pop-wunderkind and critical darling Lorde with her, quite frankly, incredible comeback single Green Light. Produced by Bleachers, Jack Antonoff it knowingly builds on the romantic rejection of Dancing On My Own to match the realities of break-ups in modern life.
Whereas Robyn’s compulsion to observe her former lover in real-life situ, “I’m in the corner, watching you kiss her” and then accept her fate “I’m giving it my all, but I’m not the guy you’re taking home, I’ll keep dancing on my own” was still the norm back in 2010, Lorde’s post-millennial lifestyle forces a more prolonged agony via a relationship played out on social media: “But honey I’ll be seeing you wherever I go” and “ Cause honey I’ll come get my things, but I can’t let go.”
This is THE defining difference in how mainstream audiences (and thus the artists who write works to appeal to them) now define a breakup. The ability to stalk former lovers via the net prolongs the agony of any heartache and makes moving on even harder to do.
*It has unfortunately launched Callum Scott’s career with a schmaltzy acoustic version that still manages to sound good despite his best X-Factor-ish efforts.