Album Review!! Lorde’s Solar Power

“Once upon a time in Hollywood when Carol called my name” Shoutout to Ms. Hurt !!

Lorde singin her song
Solar Power: the powerful album

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lorde’s third studio album, Solar Power, was not an instant success. For the fellow Lorde fanatics, we all know that the shift in style and production was a bit of a shock and took some getting used to. We found that after the first listen, neither of us were truly convinced about the alleged “power” that this album was hoping to have, but after another listening sesh, we agreed that Lorde has done the absolute necessary, yet again. We were all hungry for another taste of Lorde’s strong and angelic sound, as her unique voice just keeps you hooked and always wanting more. In Solar Power, she involves more of a breathy sound, keeping with the lightness of it and leading into ideas of the comfort the beach brings you along with themes of happiness, growth, and feelings of content nostalgia. Something that contributed to it not being an instant win was some of Jack Antonoff’s work with the production as it sometimes felt a little off and didn’t make her voice the center of attention as we were so used to and expecting. Specifically in “The Path”, making it an underwhelming start to the album. But knowing Lorde, this might have been intentional, as she covers the notion of no longer wanting to be the center of attention, merely desiring to grow into her own personhood and leave thoughts of her pursuit of fame behind. 

Lorde livin

She tried a new style of music, and created a new acoustic guitar tropical island type of vibe to accompany her new style of living. This is very different from her previous hard hitting synth style of production, which may explain some of the production not being as polished as other albums/songs due to her inexperience in the style. Solar Power is truly an album you have to listen to a couple of times in order to really capture all of its power and emotion; her other albums have specific phrases that encapsulate specific moments and emotions while Solar Power transports you to a whole other world, focused on the big picture of the world and making you feel like you’re in New Zealand, taking in the beautiful ocean waves and feeling the cool salty air running through your hair with Lorde by your side. 

Lorde with friends

In this album, Lorde elaborates on themes of maturity, growth, sun, healing, and her journey towards self love. The overall message of the album is moving past teenage angst and letting go of existential views. Lorde’s lyrics show that she has matured and practiced self-love during her hiatus, while still feeling grateful about childhood and welcoming nostalgia as she grows as a person. In addition to the thematic elements, she tries to have underlying commentary on environmental issues and cultural appropriation. However, after discussion, we decided that they seem to not be fully developed. They act more as a mention but she never goes into those ideas profoundly, sticking to her personal growth before really tackling any social issues. 

Pearl, the love of everyone’s life :,(

Moving on from her thematic elements, after doing a close read of the lyrics we found that she references many experiences she has had during her musical and social media hiatus since Melodrama. In the title song “Solar Power”, she was clearly inspired by new events that were popping up in her life, like her developing love for her new boyfriend and the loss of her dog, Pearl. Specifically in her song Big Star, Lorde references Pearl and how much she loved him. She calls him her “Big star” and says that when writing the song, she looked under the table and thought “You big dummy. You’re never going to know that I’m writing this song about how much I love you”, only to have him experience two cardiac arrests in 2019, holding Pearl in her arms as he passed. This was a very traumatic moment for the singer, and she delayed the release of her album two years later to be able to grieve in peace. Not all of her hiatus has been bad though. Lorde began dating Justin Warner, American promotions director for Universal Music. Ironically, Lorde references Warner in the album by calling him “boy”. However, Justin Warren is an astonishing 41 years old, making him seventeen years older than her(…). 

41 year old bf alert…

Over the course of the album, Lorde tries to push away the notion of her pop-star-savior status, emphasizing that she is not a true role model, but simply another human being trying to grow and love in her own life. She leaves that idea of being a “Lorde” and savior of fans behind, in order to completely embrace vulnerability and welcome thoughts of childhood nostalgia, holding no hate for her past self, simply grateful for her current and future maturity. This is especially evident in the last track, “Oceanic Feeling.” Oceanic Feeling is solely written by Lorde, opposed to some of the other co written songs on the album.

Lorde being awesome

Fav songs:

Teagan’s :

My top songs on the album were “Dominoes”, “California”, and “Mood Ring”. Honorable mention to “Stoned at the Nail Salon”. For the people who are going to only listen to a couple songs off the album, I would recommend “California” and “Mood Ring” because those are the “catchiest” out of her discography. “Mood Ring” has themes of spirituality and she referencessun salutations/Transcendental in your meditations (love and light)/You can burn sage, and I’ll cleanse the crystals.” Though some would think this is a positive, girlboss-esque self love anthem, she revealed that the song was meant to be satire. In her email listing, she explained after the debut of Mood Ring that the song is meant to be a tongue-in-cheek criticism of wellness culture. She references “every little dropper bottle full of expensive black liquid that claims to “detoxify”, the Daily Mail, Erewhon, and of course the ultimate mood ring” as things that are advertised to make you feel better, but you can not rely on them to make you feel happy. Since Inés discussed Dominoes and California in her section, I’ll end mine with a few thoughts on “Stoned at the Nail Salon.” This song is for the people who listened to Melodrama and Pure Heroine, and are in need of another deep, introspective, sad song. SATNS has a very dreamy feel and makes you feel as if you are sitting right next to Lorde at the nail salon. It reflects on her past childhood and adolescent experiences, and presents themes of childhood growth and maturity. It also has a sound similar to Lana del Rey’s (possibly due to the artists using the same producer, Jack Antonoff) so Lana fans this one’s for you. 

“Two former hell raisers, I’m still crazy for you” – Stoned at the Nail Salon”

 

Inés’s :

My top songs would probably be “Mood Ring”, “Dominoes”, and “California”. “Mood Ring” is the catchiest on the album and as it was released as a single, it works perfectly on its own. “Dominoes” touches on the subtle judgement of someone she used to know, with a confidently soft sound that keeps you strapped in all the way. “California” is all about how the place she always imagined as a utopia was really not its reality, a song that really encompasses her transition to real adulthood. My honorable mention would have to be the titular song, “Solar Power” because duh, this is a song everyone should listen to, Lorde fan or not. The song truly lays out the tone of the album and references her personal happiness, which is something we all want for ourselves.

so us

Magnet’s Take on Solar Power:

Senior Leddy Scheurer offered her input on the album. “My favorite is Mood Ring because I think it’s a really good commentary on wellness culture,” she wrote. She also added that she thought the production was “swaggy.” Student Lilly Jones offered her input as well. She chose Secrets from a Girl Who’s Seen it All, because it “feels like a dream where Lorde (aka God) is giving you advice and you wake up enlightened.” She also compared listening to the song with “riding on a plane on a rainbow.” Mabry Wise offered a different opinion, naming “Fallen Fruit” as her top pick from the album.

“Everybody wants the best for you, but you gotta want it for yourself” – “Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen It All)””