In a New York Times article chronicling the emotional and physical journey of Lorde’s sophomore album, Melodrama, the interviewer and Lorde herself chat from the confines of a mid-town Greek diner. A diner, that Lorde explains, acted as a late-night writing retreat as she worked on lyrics for that very album.
It’s a kitschy thing that interviewers do — they’re always picking vegan roller coaster parks or bong glass-blowing classes to take their talent to. They try to think of places that are, if not hugely relevant to the artist, wild icebreakers. Mainly because A) celebrities are terrifying and B) writers have a small amount of time to dig up retweet-worthy sound bites. Usually I’m annoyed by the nature of this type of interview. I mean, do you really need to take Jennifer Lawrence to moonlight as a pudding factory worker to get her to say something interesting? Does Taylor Swift really need to watch a cat midwife deliver a litter of Instagram-friendly kittens in order to talk about her process? Apparently, all Lorde needed to open up, was a visit to her old stomping grounds, the Flame diner.
Something about this charmed me. Despite her wee age, Lorde is an international superstar. And if it was anyone else, I might scoff at the irony. It might seem contrived for a millionaire to spend hours in a greasy diner, in arguably one of the least thrilling parts of the city. But Lorde is low-key. She’s the kid who literally became a societal royal by singing about never being one. She’s humble. So the idea of her hunched over a ketchup-sticky formica table-top, under the unflattering neon glow of a 24/7 diner sign is free from irony for me. It sounds just about right. So right, I felt myself longing for the feeling she spoke of achieving there.