Appropriate for its title, Lorde's new single "Green Light" has hit the ground running at radio.
The song, released at 2p ET Thursday (March 2), debuts at No. 29 on Billboard's Nielsen Music-based Alternative Songs airplay chart, No. 30 on Pop Songs and No. 32 on Adult Pop Songs (all dated March 18). Overall, it arrives with 24 million all-format audience impressions. (The charts' tracking week ran Feb. 27-March 5, so "Green Light" bows with roughly half a week's-worth of plays. All charts will update on Billboard.com tomorrow, March 7.)
Lorde broke through in 2013 with her smash "Royals," which topped all three tallies and made her the first female soloist to lead Alternative Songs since 1996. Follow-up "Team" crowned Adult Pop Songs and hit No. 2 on Pop Songs and Alternative Songs. The songs were released from her debut LP, Pure Heroine, which reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200. Her new single previews her second full-length, Melodrama.
"'Green Light' is a perfect fit for us, and exactly what our audience wanted next from Lorde: driving, impeccable pop that she keeps edgy as hell," says Jayn, assistant program director/music director of adult pop KLLC (Alice@97.3) San Francisco.
While "Royals" and, to a lesser extent, "Team" cast Lorde's sound in a moody vein, "Green Light" sports more pop gloss, at least musically. Lyrically, the new song recaps a heartbreak not yet healed, continuing Lorde's hallmark of looking in from the outside. "Thought you said that you would always be in love, but you're not in love no more," Lorde sings. "Did it frighten you, how we kissed when we danced on the light-up floor?"
"That's the thing," Jayn muses. "I don't think 'Green Light' is too different from her other hits, because her inherent darkness is still ever-present. The lyrics are as true-to-Lorde as any Lorde lyrics could ever be."
Alternative programmers echo that "Green Light" fits their format. "This is a perfect song for us," says Dan Connelly, WSUN (97X) Tampa, Florida, PD. "She's an artist with roots in alternative with a song that will only broaden their appeal. I believe Lorde's heart is at alternative radio, and the more fans she can bring back to the format can only help stations like ours."
"This song delivers on every level. It's a no-brainer," Andrew Harms, APD/MD of alternative KYSR (ALT 98.7) Los Angeles, concurs. "Lorde is a young, compelling artist that has clearly pushed herself creatively to another level. If a programmer wants to argue that this isn't a fit for alternative radio, that's their problem."