The album was recorded over an 18 month period with co-writer and co-producer Jack Antonoff.
The album is about a "grapple with loneliness" in the aftermath of a break-up. In an article in the New York Times, Lorde mentions that "Melodrama wasn't a 'breakup album" and stated that "it's a record about being alone. The good parts and the bad parts, dealing with themes of heartbreak and solitude"
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"Writing Pure Heroine was my way of enshrining our teenage glory, putting it up in lights forever so that part of me never dies, and this record - well, this one is about what comes next. ...The party is about to start. I am about to show you the new world."