Thursday is Lorde's birthday. To celebrate, she released a new video, but it's far from cheery. "Yellow Flicker Beat," written for the new Hunger Games soundtrack, is darker and more subdued than anything we've heard from her previously.
Lorde has been heading this direction since her early material. Many of her videos have had a hard-to-articulate, sinister feel — "Tennis Court" was the most difficult-to-watch video of 2013 — but the music was always poppy and uplifting. "Royals" and "Tennis Court" both have soaring and catchy choruses, but "Yellow Flicker Beat" ventures deeper into the sinister electronic sounds of artists like Phantogram and FKA twigs. The track is a much better fit with the dark visual aesthetics Lorde established previously. It will also be a great addition to the new Hunger Games soundtrack, which Lorde curated.
Happy birthday, Lorde!