It’s not just the catchiness of the song that pulls me in — it’s the relevance it has to my life. The refrain of the chorus, “I’m waiting for it, that green light, I want it,” may at first seem vague and metaphorical, but to me, it said exactly what I have been feeling this semester.
While Lorde is singing about heartbreak, her chorus told a different story to me. This semester has been one of being told constantly that the future is coming soon. From summer internship applications (and rejections) to friends starting to study for grad school entrance exams to being asked, seemingly every day, what I’m going to do with my life, I feel like I’m hitting a lot of red lights.
While I’m not certain I’m ready to accelerate into the future right now, a big part of me craves a sign from the universe that lets me go full speed ahead.
The song also explores the difficulties of being on your own and having to move on with your life while still healing. One of my favorite lines in the song is the bridge. She sings, “I hear sounds in my mind, brand new sounds in my mind.”
Instead of being terrified of all the big questions facing me for the remainder of this academic year, I’ll remember Lorde’s belief in reinvention. Every mistake is a chance to be reborn; every no makes you more grateful for a yes. At least, that’s what “Green Light” makes me believe. And even when the culture at UNC makes me feel like if I didn’t get my summer plans solidified in January, somehow I’ve messed up, Lorde gets that, too.
She’s learned the art of letting go. But under the song’s chorus’ tone of submission, there’s the sound of tomorrow. The story comes from after I “get my things and just let go.” And that’s why I needed this song right now.
Thank you, Lorde, for giving me a new soundtrack to my walks home down Hillsborough Street.
But more than that, thank you for giving me the certainty that today might be rough, but going into the night can show me brightness even in darkness.