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Homemade Dynamite

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"Homemade Dynamite"
A black image with pink text that displays the track's title on the upper left corner and the artist's name on the lower right corner.
Song by Lorde
from the album Melodrama
Released16 June 2017 (2017-06-16)
Studio
Genre
Length3:09
LabelUniversal New Zealand
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Melodrama track listing
12 tracks
  1. "Green Light"
  2. "Sober"
  3. "Homemade Dynamite"
  4. "The Louvre"
  5. "Liability
  6. "Hard Feelings/Loveless"
  7. "Sober II (Melodrama)
  8. "Writer in the Dark"
  9. "Supercut"
  10. "Liability (Reprise)"
  11. "Perfect Places"
Japan bonus track
  1. "Green Light" (Chromeo remix)
Spotify bonus track
  1. "Homemade Dynamite" (Remix)

"Homemade Dynamite" is a song by New Zealand singer Lorde from her second album, Melodrama (2017). She co-wrote the track with Tove Lo, Jakob Jerlström, Ludvig Söderberg and co-produced it with Frank Dukes and vocal producer Kuk Harrell. Critics described "Homemade Dynamite" as a mid-tempo R&B and synth-pop song with vocal sound effects, a percussive beat, a staccato hook, electronic flourishes, sharp percussion and woozy synths. In the lyrics, Lorde talks about having a feeling of euphoria at a house party with friends.

"Homemade Dynamite" received favourable reviews from music critics, who praised its strong lyrical content, Lorde's vocal delivery and its production. While the track failed to match the success of the album's lead single, it had minor chart placements in Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Lorde premiered the song at the Coachella Valley Music Festival and performed it at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards. "Homemade Dynamite" was one of six songs used as part of a re-imagined Vevo series at the Electric Lady Studios, where she recorded most of her album.

A remix version of the song featuring guest appearances by American R&B singers Khalid and SZA and American rapper Post Malone was released as the third single from the album on 15 September 2017. Music critics praised its production and each guest's verse. It performed modestly on international record charts, peaking at number 20 in New Zealand and at mid-tier positions in Canada and the Netherlands as well as 92 on the US Billboard Hot 100. This version received a double platinum certification in Australia and a platinum certification in Canada and New Zealand.

Background[edit]

"Homemade Dynamite" was produced in one of Max Martin's compounds.

Lorde revealed in an interview with The Spinoff that she admired "the simplicity of the emotions" of "Homemade Dynamite".[1] It stood out from other songs on the record due to its "lightweight" tone. She described the song as the moment when "everyone’s at a good level and maybe the sharp edges of the evening haven’t quite shown themselves yet."[2] Lorde also called it "funny" and "reckless".[1] Producer Frank Dukes was drawn to this track in particular when the pair met and was able to work on the song swiftly.

During production, the singer mentioned that she was "vouching for the camp of pop." The song started out with a "bootleg" sound but they soon had a "shiny pop mix." Dukes brought in bootleg soundboards with drums that were not hi-fi and used keyboard stabs which Lorde gravitated towards. To her, it represented a transition from the minimalist production of Pure Heroine (2013). Lorde stated that "Homemade Dynamite" was a departure from the album's breakup theme, as it centered around friendship.[1] Critic Claire Shaffer felt the "cute" vocals on Purity Ring's song "Fineshrine" (2012) were a source of influence on "Homemade Dynamite".[3]

When writing "Homemade Dynamite", Lorde did not have a specific setting or theme in mind. She worked with Swedish pop singer Tove Lo and stated that they both understood each other and spent a "wonderful time" writing. Despite their different musical backgrounds, Lorde was intrigued to work with someone whose production style contrasted with hers. The song was written in one of Max Martin's compounds which Lorde called the "Gingerbread House". In the studio, the microphone had a mattress around it for noise-cancelling effects.[1]

Composition and lyrical interpretation[edit]

Swedish singer Tove Lo smiling as she holds a microphone on-stage
Lorde co-wrote "Homemade Dynamite" with Tove Lo (pictured in 2015).

The song was recorded at two locations in the United States. Recording began at Conway Recording Studios in Los Angeles, California, with help from Tove Lo. Her persistent partying was something she and Lorde shared when it came to songwriting. The rest of the track was completed at Electric Lady Studios, in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. Serban Ghenea mixed the song at MixStar Studios with assistance from engineer John Hanes. Laura Sisk served as the audio engineer. It was mastered at Sterling Sound Studios by Randy Merrill. Other personnel include songwriters Jakob Jerlström and Ludvig Söderberg, Kuk Harrell who provided vocal production, and producer Frank Dukes.[4] This is the only track on the record that is not produced or written by Jack Antonoff.[5]

"Homemade Dynamite" is composed in the key of B-flat major with a moderate tempo of 108 beats per minute. Lorde's vocals span a range of F3 to D5 and its chord progression follows a basic sequence of Cm–Gm–B.[6] It was described as a mid-tempo R&B[7] and synth-pop[8] song with vocal sound effects,[9][10] a meandering, percussive beat, a staccato hook,[11] electronic flourishes,[12] rolling, sharp percussion and woozy synths.[13] Andrew Dorsett of PopMatters noted how the song's "hip-hop and R&B-inspired beats" come in the form of texture along with its "gothic grandeur."[14] The Chicago Tribune editor Greg Kot described the song as "steady, with head-nodding hip-hop beats and a hint of optimism" in its lyrics.[15]

Several publications interpreted the lines "Might get your friend to drive, but he can hardly see / we’ll end up painted on the road in red and chrome, all the broken glass sparkling," as an imagery describing a car crash involving Lorde and her new crush.[16][17] The Guardian compared the car crash scenario to The Smiths song "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" (1992).[16] Like "The Louvre", this song reveals Lorde's sense of humor and intimacy with the explosion effect she makes.[18][19]

Critical reception[edit]

"Homemade Dynamite" received favourable reviews from music critics. Will Hermes of Rolling Stone called the song's "tiny explosion amid total silence" the most striking part of the album.[16] Hermes also wrote the track was "emblematic of a modern pop record that prizes old-school intimacy."[20] Dan Weiss of Consequence of Sound called it "excellent" and compared Lorde's rapping to a "caffeinated Lana Del Rey." The publication called the singer's mouth explosion noise "adorable."[21] Drowned in Sound editor Joe Giggins called the song's ending where Lorde mimics the sound of an explosion "electrifying."[22] Pigeons & Planes placed the remix on its Best Songs of the Week list for 15 September 2017. The magazine's Charlotte Freitag complimented the guest appearances, which help visualize the "track's imagery." Freitag also praised the final chorus which delivers "stunning four-part harmonies."[23]

The Guardian said that while the song was "not bad," there was "nothing melodically or sonically" that would set it apart on a radio playlist. The publication considered it be the weakest song on the record. While Sputnikmusic was more favorable towards the song, the website did share similar sentiments on the track's "sense of familiarity" with the sound of Pure Heroine, but stated that it was "quite strong and well-executed."[24] Despite several mixed reviews, Rolling Stone included "Homemade Dynamite" on three separate year-end lists. The song ranked number two in both the publication's American and Australian lists, with Rolling Stone calling it a "nervously sexy synth-pop thriller."[25][8] Lorde's "eccentric whisper" was praised for holding the track together. Rob Sheffield also with Rolling Stone included "Homemade Dynamite" at number ten on his 25 Best Songs of 2017 list, praising Lorde's dynamite sound and its "sparkly broken glass of a beat."[26] The song was ranked the 14th greatest song of 2017 by Australian alternative music station Triple J.[27]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the solo version debuted at number 82 on the chart dated 22 September 2017. It performed similarly in other European countries such as Sweden and Ireland, peaking at number 84 and 61. The song was a commercial success in Belgium, however, charting within the top five on both of the country's main charts. Like the original song, the remix had minor chart placements in Canada and the Netherlands, where it charted at number 54 and 92. The song peaked and debuted at number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100, recording 5.9 million U.S. streams (up 697%) and 10,000 song sales (up 276%).[28] The remix managed to enter the top 20 in Lorde's native New Zealand and in Lithuania. It also held a moderate placement in Australia, peaking at number 23. Since its release, the remix has received a gold certification from the Recorded Music NZ (RMNZ) and Music Canada (MC).

Live performances[edit]

Lorde performed "Homemade Dynamite" for the first time at the Coachella Valley Music Festival. She introduced it by saying it was meant to "capture the feeling of a night out, from the high to the low" and the part "where everything is good."[29] The song was to have been premiered at the restaurant and music venue Pappy & Harriet's in California, but was scratched from the set list.[30] During the performance, Lorde wore a "dazzling silver trousers and an embellished bodice-style top," which The Daily Telegraph noted to be a change in her wardrobe style.[31] The full performance was met with positive reactions from critics,[32][33] with Entertainment Weekly calling it one of the festival's highlights.[34]

During her set at the Osheaga Festival on 4 August 2017, Lorde invited Tove Lo to sing a duet of "Homemade Dynamite" with her. Before introducing her, the singer told the crowd she wrote all the songs on her record with one person but Lo was the "one extra" person she "wrote a song with." Lo said it was a "huge moment" for her.[5] The track was also performed at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards. Lorde said hours before the performance that she was diagnosed with the flu.[35] Instead of singing, she opted to perform an interpretive dance. It was met with conflicting reviews from critics and audiences,[36] with many calling it "bizarre" and Maroon 5 vocalist Adam Levine saying it was "utterly horrible";[37] it later became a meme.[38] Lorde later defended her performance in a podcast interview, saying that viewers overreacted to her dancing. She said that it was "sort of embarrassing to watch someone experience intense joy" which she thinks is why people find what she does "disconcerting".[39] The song was part of her Melodrama World Tour (2017–2018) set list. She also performed "Homemade Dynamite", with six other songs, as part of a re-imagined Vevo series at the Electric Lady Studios where most of the album was recorded.[40]

Remixes[edit]

Khalid, Post Malone and SZA remix[edit]

"Homemade Dynamite (Remix)"
A polaroid-style picture of a woman, presumed to be Lorde, surrounded by blue, pink and purple colored balloons.
Single by Lorde featuring Khalid, Post Malone and SZA
from the album Melodrama[a]
Released16 September 2017 (2017-09-16)
FormatDigital download
Genre
Length3:34
LabelUniversal New Zealand
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Lorde
  • Frank Dukes
  • Kuk Harrell
Lorde singles chronology
"Perfect Places"
(2017)
"Homemade Dynamite (Remix)"
(2017)
Khalid singles chronology
"Silence"
(2017)
"Homemade Dynamite"
(2017)
"Saved"
(2017)
Post Malone singles chronology
"Congratulations"
(2017)
"Homemade Dynamite"
(2017)
"Rockstar"
(2017)
SZA singles chronology
"What Lovers Do"
(2017)
"Homemade Dynamite"
(2017)
"The Weekend"
(2017)

On 16 September 2017, a remix version featuring vocals by R&B singers Khalid and SZA and rapper Post Malone was released.[42][43] She first teased the track on Instagram after the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, with the caption written in 21 asterisks. This was later revealed to be the announcement for the remix.[44] This marked Lorde's first collaboration since "Magnets" (2015) with Disclosure and the first as a lead artist. Universal Music New Zealand released the remix as the third single from the singer's second album, Melodrama produced and promoted by Republic Records.[42][45]

The remix's cover art features a "Polaroid-esque portrait in a room of helium balloons" with one hiding Lorde's face.[46] The song maintained its original rhythms, with an extra line in the first chorus and three more verses sung by the featured artists. Khalid, SZA and Post Malone wrote their own verses and Lorde changed parts of the chorus, moving the line "Now you know it's really gonna blow" to the end of the song as the outro.[47] At the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Festival, Lorde surprised the crowd by bringing Khalid on-stage to sing the remix.[48]

The remix received mostly positive reviews from music critics. Billboard called it an "infectious party banger." The publication described the remix as a "bubbly, upbeat arrangement."[49] Mike Wass from Idolator pointed out that Post Malone's verse was the "sweetest" and said that the remix had "all the ingredients [for] a multi-format hit."[50] Exclaim's Sarah Murphy said that the "additional verses put a fresh spin on the brooding pop track, while [also] retaining the undeniable infectiousness of the original" version.[51] Noisey editor Phil Witmer called the remix "explosive" and praised both Khalid's "flows on the outro" and Post Malone's "convincing turn as a pop singer."[52] Uproxx called the remix "ethereal," but also mentioned that it "packs an incredible punch" due to its "intricate percussive work." The publication praised the guest vocalists who "match Lorde's intensity to perfection."[53]

Other remixes[edit]

Australian radio station Triple J held a contest shortly after the release of Lorde's official remix to find the best remix for "Homemade Dynamite". More than 1,000 entries were submitted. Five finalists were announced before the reveal date: Aela Kae, Eilish Gilligan, Sweet Potato, Tone Youth and Vincent Sole.[54] Lorde handpicked the winner, Sweet Potato, saying his submission reminded her of the chopped and screwed vocals she used as a beat in her song "Million Dollar Bills" (2013). Lorde also gave a "highly commended" to Vincent Sole, finding his "house groove [...] super interesting."[55]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download – Remix[42]
No.TitleLength
1."Homemade Dynamite" (featuring Khalid, Post Malone and SZA)3:34

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording and management

Personnel

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Melodrama and Tidal.[4][56] All personnel contributed to both the solo and remix versions, except where noted.

Charts[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
Various 16 September 2017 Digital download Universal Music New Zealand [42]
Italy 13 October 2017 Contemporary hit radio Universal [76]
United States 24 October 2017 Republic [77]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The "Homemade Dynamite" remix was released with the album as a Spotify exclusive.[41]

Citations[edit]

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External links[edit]