Lorde has never been shy about showering other artists with praise. So the fact that she’s paid tribute to many of those artists by covering their songs during her Melodrama World Tour isn’t surprising in the least.
Lorde’s choice to cover Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” and “Runaway” during a recent Chicago tour stop wasn’t that surprising, either—she referred to West as her “idol” during a 2014 Billboard interview, so there’s no way she could have turned down an opportunity to honour Yeezy by performing two of his hits in his hometown. She also covered West’s “Hold My Liquor” back in 2013, worked with West to produce a “Yellow Flicker Beat” remix in 2014, and accompanied him to a Dior fashion show in 2015. Clearly, her Yeezy fandom knows no bounds.
Though both covers were fairly short, Lorde took the time to cleverly mash up “Runaway” with Melodrama’s “Liability” and ensure that her a cappella delivery of “Love Lockdown” kept concertgoers’ attention despite the noticeable lack of 808s & Heartbreak’s signature drum machines.
Given the strength of Lorde’s Kanye covers, we thought we’d look back on the last few months and catalogue what other songs the New Zealand songstress chose to cover during her tour. We’ll undoubtedly have more to add to this list as time goes on (the Melodrama World Tour technically doesn’t end until November), but these five covers are definitely a good start.
Lorde first covered Frank Ocean’s introspective Blonde track in Milwaukee, but she’s performed it several times since in Denver, Vancouver, and Oakland. It’s a great cover of an even greater song, so Lorde’s decision to turn “Solo” into something of a Melodrama World Tour mainstay makes total sense.
Lorde covered several artists during the Australian leg of her tour, including Aussie bands Hunters & Collectors and Powderfinger. But her brief rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” which she performed at the Sydney Opera House, was extra special—partially because she sang it with a rainbow flag wrapped around her shoulders (to celebrate the fact that Australia had recently legalized same-sex marriage).
Lorde sure does love her ‘80s music icons. Her cover of Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U” in Minnesota (Prince’s home state) was, again, painfully short, but nonetheless beautiful and certainly full of reverence. “He’s the very best, he’s the best there is,” Lorde acknowledged on stage. “And I’m so grateful to have even existed at the same time as him.”
Before mashing up Bruce Springsteen’s classic Born in the U.S.A. track with Pure Heroine’s “400 Lux” in New Zealand (while wearing a drool-worthy puffy white dress, might we add), Lorde warned the audience that the cover was an “experiment” she and her team had only worked out in soundcheck earlier that day. Lorde had nothing to fear, as her “I’m on Fire” performance ended up being one her best live covers to date. It’s also worth noting that Springsteen previously covered Lorde’s “Royals” in 2014. Maybe one day we’ll get a Lorde-Bruce Springsteen collaboration album and inevitably question everything we thought we knew about music.
Chvrches delivered an incredible performance of “Somebody Else” earlier this month, but Lorde did it first and set a fantastic example. Lorde prefaced her cover by explaining that “Somebody Else” “really influenced Melodrama,” a connection that became immediately apparent as soon as she launched into the song. And she seemed to really have fun while performing it (dancing and jumping all over the stage is usually a good sign), so we hope she decides to cover this track again soon.