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On May 18th Lorde released the track list for Melodrama. "Supercut" was shown as the ninth track on the album.
On February 28, Lorde released a Run The Jewels remix of the song.
Recording and composition
Lorde recorded "Supercut" in three locations around the United States. She began recording at Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village, New York City, with assistance from Barry McCready and Jack Antonoff. Antonoff also worked with Lorde at Rough Customer Studio, a joint publishing venture between Sony/ATV and Antonoff based in Brooklyn Heights, New York. Recording concluded at Weslake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, California, with assistance from Ben Sedano and Greg Eliason. Serban Ghenea mixed the song at MixStar Studios with assistance from engineer John Hanes. The track was mastered by Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound in New York. Other personnel include Joel Little, who produced Lorde's Pure Heroine (2013) album, as well as Frank Dukes, Jean-Benoît Dunckel, Malay, who provided additional production to the song. "Supercut" was published under the license Songs Music Publishing / Sony/ATV Songs LLC / Ducky Donath Music (BMI).
"Supercut" is composed in the key of C Major with a tempo of 124 beats per minute. Lorde's vocals span a range of A3 to E5 and its chord progression follows a basic sequence of C–Am–F–F.It is a synth-pop and electropop song, which has influences of other genres such as dance, electro house, electronica, and new wave music. According to Ava Muir of Exclaim, "Supercut" is driven by a "hauntingly infectious pulse". Emily Reily from Paste called it a "fusion of ‘80s pop with an electro-house beat". The track's lyrics revolve with remembering happy times from a previous relationship; the opening verse includes the line, "In my head, I play a supercut of us". In an analysis of the album, Lindsay Zoladz from The Ringer said the song is associated in popular culture with the "relationship’s 'perfect' moments captured in cropped, filtered Instagrams that we flick through after they [are] over". She also notes Lorde's loud grunt at the start of the song's last refrain as her way of "flinging off the varnished illusion for now—though ... still there whenever she wants to wallow".
In an interview with The Spinoff, Lorde said "Supercut" was a "sister song" to "Ribs" from her album Pure Heroine (2013). She recalls leaving a party late at night and driving around Auckland listening to Paul Simon's Graceland (1986). While driving, she heard "crazy beats" leaking onto the street. She wanted to feel as if one was "dancing through the walls of a party". Once Lorde finished recording the track, she played it as she left gastro pub The Spotted Pig after midnight and felt the way she used to feel when she made music as a younger person. She harboured an emotional reaction as she was relieved to get her feelings out for the first time. Lorde also said "Supercut" is the only song on the album where she speaks to someone, describing the thought process as the Eleventh Hour. Most of the song was constructed using drums and then "filled in the blanks" with the piano.
A supercut, or highlight reel, is a compilation of short video clips. The song explores life after a breakup, and remembering all the good memories, though that's not the whole reality of the relationship. The reference of ribbons is mentioned throughout the album, notably in "Sober".
About the song, Lorde said:
“I felt the way I used to feel when I made music as a kid and it felt like I could cry because it’s such a relief to get out how you’re feeling for the first time. I remember being like ‘Oh my God’. It was such gratitude for the process. I was like, ‘My outlet!‘”The song is described as a sister song to "Ribs", and Joel Little came back to help produce the track, as he had produced "Ribs".
"Supercut" received critical acclaim from music critics, with many calling it a stand-out track on Melodrama and praising its lyrical content. Mike Neid from Idolator wrote that the track "deliver[ed] one of the most gracefully crafted lyrics on the album", and called it a "joyful release that offers a sliver of hope for new beginnings". Writing for The Independent, Roisin O'Connor praised the song's "off-kilter rhythms and quirks in the production", which help "expose the inner workings of her music". O'Connor also said Lorde "respects pop for what it is and what it is capable of", and that "it can speak so bluntly of being alone yet simultaneously make you want to jump around the room".
Vulture writer Frank Guan called "Supercut" the best track on Melodrama, saying the "production at once pulsing and rippling, the backward-gazing lyrics generate a sense of compulsive agony over love’s end that somehow feels as giddy as its beginning, and consequently twice as wrenching". Guan compared the song's structure to that of Lorde's debut single "Royals" (2013) and said "Supercut" "will be a single to remember for a long time to come". Many publications compared "Supercut" with the works of Swedish singer Robyn; Chris Willman of Variety called it the album's "mini masterpiece" and the "late-arriving 11:00 number" as the album was sequenced in a theatrical format. Willman called Lorde a "dead ringer" for Robyn and notes that the house rhythm from "Green Light" returns in a "bigger and more consistent way".
Andy Baio, the person who coined "the term", praised Lorde for using it in her song. In an interview with Kaitlyn Tiffany from The Verge, Baio initially thought Lorde used the name in the song title without mentioning it in the lyrics when the album's track list was published in May 2017. He later realized the term is used as the "central metaphor of the entire song" and praised her for understanding its meaning. He said the "elements of obsessiveness and comprehensiveness make [Lorde's memories] a supercut" and was pleased the word became part of the song's chorus. Ryan Gantz, writing for Vox, called it "fascinating how language chosen by some geeks to describe a new kind of expression can end up slowly saturating popular culture".
"Supercut" ended up in several music critics' year-end lists. Stereogum placed the song at number two on their year-end list, calling the lyrics "genius, the music a propulsive mirage" and the overall effect "overwhelming and tingly". Lindsay Zoladz from The Ringer also placed the song at number two on her list, describing it as "a precise distillation of the ways the internet shapes and warps how we experience life". Zoladz further called it a "great pop song in the spirit" of the Body Talk (2010) era of Robyn and felt "something liberating" about the track's conclusion.
Live Performances and Usages
Lorde first performed "Supercut", along with two other tracks, at the Bowery Auditorium in New York City on the night of the singer's Melodrama album release party. She also performed the track on 1Live, which was described as "breathtaking" and emotional. "Supercut" was one of six songs Lorde performed as part of a re-imagined Vevo series at the Electric Lady Studios where she recorded most of her album.
Norwegian pop punk band Sløtface covered the song at Australian radio station Triple J; Consequence of Sound described the cover as "cleaned up from the dance floor while forfeiting none of its emotional core". Lorde responded to the group's cover, calling it "rad". Sløtface's cover replaces the electronics of the production with a "reverberating guitar".
For the Melodrama World Tour (2017–2018), Lorde performs "Supercut" after her last costume change and a video interlude. It is the first track she performs from the "prelude [of] the show's third and final part", which is composed of five songs. The performance is described as using "subtle keyboards and shimmering synths" throughout the production. "Supercut" was included in the official soundtrack for the video game FIFA 18; NME described the track as "the one" and called it one of the soundtrack's "killer tunes".
- ↑ Lorde and Run The Jewels Team for New "Supercut" Remix: Listen - Pitchfork
- ↑ Melodrama (CD). Lorde. United States: Lava/Republic Records.
- ↑ Lorde "Supercut" Sheet Music in C Major (transposable) -Musicnotes.com
- ↑ Lorde: "Melodrama" - Slant
- ↑ Lorde is stronger than she seems on 'Melodrama' - Los Angeles Times
- ↑ In A World Of Playlists, Lorde's Melodrama Commands Your Attention - The Fader
- ↑ The Spinoff Exclusive: Lorde explains the backstory behind every song on her new album - The Spinoff
- ↑ Lorde at Alexandra Palace, London, review: Artist performs her clever, danceable pop at a perfect live show - The Independent
- ↑ Broadcast the Boom: Lorde, Live in Manchester - The Line of Best Fit
- ↑ Live Review: Lorde Reigns at Melodrama Tour - The Mancunion