The almighty Lorde has returned. The New Zealand pop icon’s four year hiatus from music has officially come to an end, with the release of her third studio album, Solar Power. Despite being 24 years old and already a worldwide music phenom, Lorde’s break from the spotlight seemed to serve her in more ways than one, as this third album provides a 180 degree turn from what everybody thought was coming.
We’re used to seeing Lorde brooding and mysterious, so this new side of her that’s happier, self-assured, and relaxed is definitely turns heads. This new look suits her though; as the album title suggests, she’s now fueled by pure things that make her truest self shine. It’s an emotional release album for every brooding feeling, a collective deep in and out breath nicely served with the melodies and unique songwriting only Lorde can provide.
She won’t prescribe to who she’s expected to be, whether that’s sexier, moodier, or even (respectively) successful. Her biggest critics note that Solar Power lacks the radio friendly smash hits, and they seem to be missing the point entirely. The album’s entire message was very blatant in its “now I’m doing whatever I want” theme, so she likely isn’t even bothered by this criticism. When did music stop being about a creative body of work and more about selling a song? While there’s nothing wrong with the latter, as the entire music business is indeed a business, artists should feel like they have the freedom to create without fear of if anybody else will understand. After all, she went unapologetically all in her debut album, Pure Heronine, and look how that turned out for her. Maybe she knows what she’s doing.
Not in a rush, she’s taking her time, rejecting all the trappings of a fame in exchange for a life that feels good “from the inside”, as she notes in ‘Mood Ring’. ‘Stoned At The Nail Salon’ perfectly depicts the juxtaposition of her former life as eternally young and “glamourous”, grappling with the fact of realizing life doesn’t stay carefree and moral, carefully wanting to choose the next most meaningful move for her life. It’s the universal “so now what?” theme that’s easy to get stuck throughout transitionary periods, so thankfully this beautiful track to puts it all in perspective for when the next existential mood strikes.
In total, Solar Power is a welcoming statement to a new and improved Lorde, seasoned with more life experiences and seeking peace over all else.