In her third album “Solar Power,” published on August 20th, Lorde returns to the music scene after an absence of four years. While the New Zealand singer-previous songwriter’s two albums, “Pure Heroine” and “Melodrama,” dealt primarily with adolescent angst and heartbreak, for her latest effort, she has opted to go her own way.
Lorde’s new album is a departure from the electropop sound of “Melodrama,” instead leaning heavily on trippy indie folk and acoustic guitars. Her second album was produced by “Solar Power” collaborator Jack Antonoff.
Solar Power is the artist’s return track, and its accompanying music video has the singer dancing on the beach with her pals to the tune of an acoustic guitar. The CD as a whole may sound like a lullaby to the outdoors, yet its themes extend far beyond simple environmental appreciation.
Lorde, a New Zealand Resident, is Close to Some of the World’s Most Beautiful Landscapes.
She said in a newsletter published alongside her song Solar Power, “In moments of pain, grief, profound love, or confusion, I seek to the natural world for answers.”
Her music unmistakably reflects the time she spent outdoors marvelling at nature’s splendours. In 2019, she also visited Antarctica, which prompted serious reflection on the effects of global warming.
The album’s fifth track, “Fallen Fruit,” which is about rallies against climate change, contains some of that self-reflection. But how can I adore what I know I’m going to lose?” she sings.
You can’t force me to pick. The lyrics illustrate the challenges of surviving a climatic catastrophe in a world where so much of nature is dependent on human activity.
Psychological and Spiritual Well-Being
The eleventh track on “Solar Power,” Mood Ring, is a satirical take on the extent to which individuals will go to get wellbeing in this modern era.
Lorde and her friends dance eerily in the music video while she sings, “Ladies, commence your sun salutations / Transcendental in your meditations (love and light)… Please use sage to purify the crystals, and I will do the same.
In a video for the song Genius, Lorde explains that she wrote it to reflect the difficulties of modern life and the isolation that many people feel.
Iconic Status and Dread
In California, Lorde sings on the temptations of stardom and compares the state to a “golden body” that she would “pay it all again” to reclaim.
The song concludes with her waving farewell to all these luxuries, but she adds that she doesn’t “miss the poison arrows aiming right at my head,” an allusion to the antagonism of celebrity society.
Tragically, Lorde’s dog Pearl passed away in 2019, as she revealed. The singer shared her sadness with fans in an email at the time, writing, “This loss has been indescribably difficult, and a light that was turned on for me has gone out.”
But every perfect summer’s gotta take its flight / I’ll still watch you gallop through the winter light,” she said in Big Star, a song about her affection for her cat.
Lorde’s final reflection on life and maturing is included within the six-minute closer Oceanic Feelings. She thinks about this idea, saying things like, “Now the cherry-black lipstick’s gathering dust in a drawer / I don’t need her any more / ‘Cause I gained this power.”
The artist, who had previously been stereotyped for her use of deep lip colours, appears to have gained the freedom to express herself authentically.
The album has been met with mixed reviews, with some criticising the production while others hailing it as a masterpiece.
We think “Solar Power” is the best record for the warm weather. Aside from being a fun song for beach dancing, the words are thoughtful and motivational. There is a delicacy and complexity about it that belies its softness and subtlety.
Lorde has matured from a jaded adolescent into a wise old woman. She has been out of the spotlight and away from social media in recent years. It would appear that after all the “Melodrama,” she’s learned to enjoy her privacy. Her songs are now powered only by her lucid views on life, through the good times and the bad.
People everywhere, but especially those of us living in Hong Kong, can take this lesson from Lorde: don’t chase after wealth and power without first considering what you value most in life.
Lorde became wealthy and famous at an early age, but she eventually moved back to New Zealand. After all, “I want to wake up,” as she sings in the California song.