ast year, Lorde took a trip to Antarctica, ostensibly to learn firsthand about the climate catastrophe.
Many believed that the 24-year-highly old’s awaited third album would come in the shape of a real-life Sick Sad World as a result of her trip. Instead, on her new album, Solar Power, Lorde looks sun-kissed and enlightened. On the album’s title track, she says to listeners, “Come on and let the pleasure begin,” a statement that seems like it should come from a SoulCycle teacher or new-age cult leader rather than a pop star. She’s back four years after 2017’s Melodrama: There were no shoes, no clothing, and no sense of an approaching catastrophe.
Lorde went home to Auckland, her own almost fictionally ideal sanctuary, after the success of her last album,
and logged off, (“Can you contact me? One song about solar power proclaims, “No, you can’t.” Her absence seems to have brought her into a new age, one focused on the quest for everlasting optimism. It’s an interesting shift, given that she spent much of her youth soundtracking the ups and downs of growing up. Lorde stops at Solar Power to take a big breath. Much of the tension she’s built up over the course of her previous two albums is released here. “Well, my hot blood’s been burnin’ for so many summers now. It’s time to calm it down, wherever that leads,” she sings in “Stoned at the Nail Salon,” with a sigh of relief.
In the end, it’s difficult to predict where solar power will go. Lorde admits to “having nightmares from the camera flash” in the album’s opening tune, “The Path,” before saying goodbye to traditional rockstar fare: bottles, models, hotels, and planes in the album’s 12 songs.
Lorde straddles the line between relishing in her former self and arriving at this new season of her life throughout the 43-plus minutes that make up Solar Power.
On “Oceanic Feeling,” she asserts, “Now the cherry black lipstick’s collecting dust in a drawer/I don’t need her anymore/‘cause I have this power,” referring to the dark pout that has long been considered her trademark appearance. “I thought I was a genius, but now I’m twenty-two/And it’s starting to seem like all I know how to do is put on a suit and take it away,” Lorde sings in “The Man With the Axe,” in which she critiques her younger self. It’s an open acknowledgment of what fame has done to her mind, but the album as a whole reads like another warning tale about the dangers of stardom.
Solar Power is the first time Lorde has eschewed the cinematic arrangements that made Pure Heroine (2013) and Melodrama so appealing in favor of a more stripped-down,
sometimes hypnotizing and apparently sleepy version of herself. Lorde and her longtime collaborator Jack Antonoff co-produced the album,
which pulls back a few too many layers, sometimes eliminating Lorde’s distinctive bite. There are some standout moments, such as in “Secrets From a Girl (Who’s Seen It All”),
where a beautifully bizarre voiceover from Robyn, who plays a flight attendant, announces what’s in store when you arrive at your destination: sadness, complete with emotional baggage, that makes you wonder what the track could have been if it hadn’t been dialed down. The album carried by Lorde’s lyrics, which combine revelation with humor to take listeners on a journey of self-discovery alongside her.
She had plenty of time to interpret the world around her after spending four years unplugged (except for her secret Instagram account, of course).
“Ladies, begin your sun salutations/Transcendental in your meditations (Love and light)/You may burn sage,
and I’ll wash the crystals,” she jokes on “Mood Ring”. Even if Lorde is in on the joke, it’s difficult to discern where the jest stops when most of the remainder of the album reads like bits from a Goop gift guide (with allusions to psychedelic garlands and SPF 3000).
Regardless, in songs like “Oceanic Feeling,” she pokes fun at a former lover, singing,
“I know a girl who knows another girl who knows the lady that you harmed/ It’s weird to see you smoking marijuana/You used to do more cocaine than anybody I’d ever met “. Lorde truly delivers her typical bared passion in times like these,
and in the calm “Big Star,” with lyrics like “I’ll still watch you race through the winter light/I used to enjoy the party, now I’m not okay/Hope the honey bees make it home tonight.”
Lorde obviously understands that few listeners are practicing “yoga with Uma Thurman’s mother” or surrounded by supermodels
“‘round a pharaoh’s tomb” at the Met Gala, but she nevertheless gives us her survival guide to Solar Power, playing the role of cult leader (a self-anointed “prettier Jesus”). However, we have an option.
also, read the source: