Rays of sunshine beam down through the darkness of Ella Yelich-O’Connor, popularly known as Lorde’s, previous albums. Solar Power, Lorde’s third studio album, contrasts the roaring energy of her older works and takes her discography in a completely opposite direction. Solar Power was released after the suspense of the artist’s four year musical hiatus which was due to personal issues and the death of her beloved dog. Lorde’s break from music took fans by surprise, as did her long-awaited comeback that would arrive out of the blue. Through satire, emotion, and a legendary production, Lorde has created an extremely unique sound which, unlike her other albums, lights up her past work.
“You’re all going to watch me disappear into the sun,” is the last line of Lorde’s Liability from her second studio album, Melodrama, released in 2017, which won a Grammy for Album of the Year in 2018. On August 20, 2021, Lorde followed up by releasing her third studio album, Solar Power, after her unexpected four year hiatus. Her lyrics in Liability hinted at her disappearance towards the oblivious public. She disappeared into the sun and curated an album to bring back down to earth for us. The songs reflect her journey from moving out of California, also shedding light on the critical issue of cultural insensitivity within modern society. Through her subtle criticism of these trends including the usage of crystals, makeup, and fashion in an insensitive way, Lorde analyzes the paradox of the Californian Dream, being a desire for many people yet a nightmare inside.
Solar Power consists of 13 tracks, each song providing a new story, sound, and the classic Lorde voice we all know and love. The story Lorde’s album tells is insane. It’s a book full of emotions from leaving the past behind and blossoming into a new realm of possibilities ahead.
The Path unleashes Lorde’s past trauma onto her audience. She addresses her disappearance from the face of the media and the causes for it. This song is beautifully written and while it may not be a stand-out song on the album, it is a vital introduction to the tracks following.
Next in her 43 minute book, Lorde manifests her joy out loud in Solar Power and takes action to achieve this fantasy in California. Both songs are gloriously made. Each with a completely different sound, both pull at the hearts of her listeners, compelling them to vividly imagine the life she sings about. The artificial energy of California killed Lorde. She sings of the “California love” she no longer wants to experience: a love that is completely based on self image.
I would give anything to be with Lorde while she wrote Stoned at the Nail Salon. In this one-of-a-kind moment, Lorde references the expiration date of stereotypical beauty but restricts herself by speculating she is just “stoned at the nail salon again.” The lyricism of this song is visually and aurally perfect. “Cause all the beautiful Lordes will fade like the roses,” is such a beautiful way to stab back at stereotypical beauty and unlike this line, Lorde has proved she will never fade out.
Fallen Fruit and Dominoes are two beautiful songs, but compared to the rest of the album they seem to become somewhat less than other tracks. These two songs, while soundly amazing, are overshadowed by Secrets of a Girl (Who’s Seen It All) and The Man With an Axe. Both songs are outstanding and two of the best out of Lorde’s third studio album. Secrets of a Girl is a fan favorite as Twitter has taken it to a whole new level by expressing their joy through their first language, memes. Lorde discusses her wisdom in this song and talks about being someone who was overlooked but by being this invisible person, she was able to “see it all.” The Man With an Axe is a love song to Lorde’s significant other, whoever they may be. Through her lyrics, Lorde appreciates this “man with an axe” for creating a plan for her disarrayed life as she moves away from the draining world in the public eye. It’s a sweet track with a thrilling title. Lorde truly shines in tracks six and seven of this album as she spills the truth of her personal life.
Lorde’s closing of the album is perfect. The stand-out track of these last four songs is most definitely awarded to Mood Ring. Not only is Mood Ring melodically and lyrically satisfying to the listener but, it is socially progressive as it tackles the world of stolen culture. As cancel culture grows in the media, many examples of stolen culture have been brought to the public eye, and in Mood Ring, Lorde directs her listeners’ attention to the Indian and Ancient Egyptian culture being normalized for the aesthetic. Parts of this culture include crystals, sun salutations, and mood rings. In her music video, Lorde puts on a blonde wig and mentions the “scorpio generation,” which is equivalent to millennials, in an attempt to confirm where this scandal is stemming from.
However, Lorde is projecting the message to not to appreciate this culture, and promotes the use of it in whatever way seems fit. As said in Mood Ring, “I can’t feel a thing, I keep looking at my mood ring.” Lorde displays the dependency that many people have on a culture they’re not part of and how they lose themselves in a culture they choose not to understand outside of the aesthetic and the shiny toys. Lorde’s album is full of so many more satirical secrets, but Mood Ring was one of the most impressive.
With a plethora of songs mentioned on the album and not discussed in this article, Lorde created another masterpiece with Solar Power. Through beautiful melodies, impressive production, and satirical secrets hidden throughout the tracks, this album is the result of a mastermind at work. We can expect this happier era of Lorde’s life to impress audiences everywhere as the music behind it is perfect for a comeback motion. Lorde may have left for four years but she was never forgotten. She left a legacy which helped listeners understand the intense world of emotions and now, planets away, she moved to the sun to help the same listeners realize there is joy to life. Not only does Solar Power outshine the sun but, Lorde 2.0 shines just as bright.