On Thursday, fans were treated to Lorde's "Green Light" music video, a haunting breakup track from the 20-year-old New Zealand singer. The video feels so personal, it begs the question: When did Lorde and her boyfriend break up? Of course, we shouldn't assume that every song written by a pop star is based on their own life, but something about "Green Light" — from the scathing lyrics to the raw emotion of the video — feels like Lorde is pulling from personal experience.
Although the young art-pop musician has been relatively quiet about her personal life, fans were able to pull clues from her social media to ascertain that Lorde and photographer James Lowe had been in a relationship since before she even rocketed to fame with her debut single, 2013's Royals. The couple apparently met when she was 16 and he was 24 (the age of consent in New Zealand is 16), which means they would have been going out for about three years by the time they allegedly split.
That breakup reportedly happened over a year ago; it was first reported by The New Zealand Herald in January 2016, when "several sources" claimed to the publication that the pair had parted ways sometime toward the end of 2015. Indeed, the last Instagram post involving the two of them was posted in November of that year, when Lowe snapped a picture of Lorde and added the caption, "She's the heart that oxygenates my deepest blue." (A rep for Lorde could not be reached by Bustle for comment on the breakup.)
While there's no confirmation that "Green Light" is specifically about Lowe (it's entirely possible that the relatively private Lorde could have been in another relationship since 2015), it does seem likely that the song is at least partly based on a real breakup she endured.
It's hard to imagine that the ferocity of the "Green Light" lyrics — from the imagery of sharks biting into the subject of the song, to phrases like, "thought you said that you would always be in love" — aren't coming from a place of real pain and regret. Thankfully for fans, Lorde has channeled these intense emotions into yet another killer single that I'm sure will be played on repeat for at least the rest of the week.
"Green Light" is Lorde's first single since she premiered "Yellow Flicker Beat" for the Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 soundtrack back in 2014; it's also the first single from her upcoming album Melodrama, only her second since her debut album, Pure Heroine, burst onto the scene in the fall of 2013. Judging by this one song, it looks like Lorde's going to have another giant success on her hands — one that will have been worth the long wait.