The power of ‘Solar Power’

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Sally Lichner

Lorde’s new album “Solar Power” is now on all streaming services.

British singer and songwriter Lorde’s newest album “Solar Power” was released on Aug. 20 of this year. “Solar Power” is Lorde’s third album and essentially nothing like she’s ever created before. With a new acoustic and lo-fi sound, Lorde cultivates one of her rawest and most vulnerable tracks ever.

“Solar Power” is a deep dive into her reflection, growth and newest stage of life. Let’s see how far she’s come.

The first song on the album track arguably sets the scene for the entire tracklist. The track is titled “The Path” quite literally describes Lorde’s path in life to where she is now. Utilizing classic, low reverb guitar paired with a raw flute sound, “The Path” introduces Lorde’s escape from the Hollywood music industry and the toxicity of it all; her growth, her escape, and her self realization.

Lorde depicts letting herself go from the expectations of not only her producers but her fans.

“Now if you’re looking for a savior / well / that’s not me.”

Up next comes the song Lorde released initially as a teaser for her album back in June, which is also titled “Solar Power.” Initially, the song was responded with some backlash, as this much more acoustic upbeat sound was nothing like Lorde has ever produced before. Some fans responded that Lorde has “lost herself,” or turned herself into “department store music.”

The song encapsulates the freeing feeling of summer, the warmth of it all and letting go of your worries. Again “Solar Power” follows the growing album theme of Lorde’s transformation into this higher and lighter version of herself.

The next song on the track “California” appears to be an ode to California. It shares the same low vibe guitar of “The Path” but isn’t as acoustic or upbeat as “Solar Power”.

“Goodbye to all the bottles / all the models / bye to the clouds in the skies that all hold no rain / don’t want the California love.”

Lorde is letting go of her past Californian lifestyle, learning yet again to let go of the lavish, yet toxic lifestyle that suffocated her.

“Stoned at the Nail Salon” was the second teaser song released for the album. This song generated much more positive reactions from fans as it captured her previous solemn sound. “Stoned at the Nail Salon” is yet another appreciation for the new life that she has achieved, one that is much more peaceful and calmer than her past. Lorde states,

“Well my hot blood’s been burning for so many summers now / it’s time to cool it down / wherever that leads.”

This illustrates Lorde’s once fast-paced ‘rockstar’ lifestyle that she has learned to “cool down”. She even includes a heartfelt message to her fans,

“Cause all the music you loved at sixteen you’ll grow out of.”

This message struck fans right in the heart as Lorde’s previous albums encapsulated the teenage girl experience, and were considered anthems to the college and high school experience. Lorde is letting her audience know that she’s grown and that they will too, and will no longer appreciate her music like they once did.

“Fallen Fruit” has a much more alternative and indie sound to it with the acoustic and reverb guitar. Although the lyrics appear less meaningful to her audience, they seem to have greater personal meaning to Lorde herself. With the calmer ambiance and a softer psychedelic sonic, her fans can still appreciate the track.

“Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen it all)” provides more of a reflection for her past self, and her childish innocence as she sings:

“Couldn’t wait to turn fifteen.”

This song sounds quite similar to “Solar Power” with its upbeat acoustic guitar and lyrics. The track appears to be more of a message to her fans:

“Baby girl, no one’s gonna feel the pain for you / You’re gonna love again / so just try staying open / And when the time comes you’ll fall.”

Lorde continues to encourage her audience to follow their “dreams and inner visions, all your mystical ambitions.” This song is a crucial part of her album, as it is quite literally a direct message of wisdom to her fans. She finishes the song with an unusual plane announcement, which provides advice to her listeners to take care of themselves on their ‘journey’, and promises that they’ll be okay in the end.

“The Man with the Axe” switches to a much lower tone but still sticks with the acoustic guitar sound. The song is more personal for Lorde and less directed at her main audience. “The Man with the Axe” appears to be a soulful ode to an ex-lover as she sings:

“I should’ve known when your favorite record was the same as my father’s you’d take me down,”

Although the song is personal to Lorde, it is still able to relate to listeners who are victims of heartbreak.

“Dominoes” is a much more joyful track with an upbeat muted electric guitar, yet still manages to calm the audience. She appears to be writing about the transformation of a person she used to love or be well acquainted with. Lorde sings:

“Just another phase you’re shooting on through,”

This lyric depicts witnessing the transformation of this person she once knew. Something that practically anyone growing up can, unfortunately, connect with.

“Big Star” is another one of Lorde’s more solemn songs with soft vocals and guitar. Big Star appears to be a much more appreciative love song- not one of anger but one of admiration. She sings, “You’re a big star,” displaying her love for this person. Lorde later sings:

“Want to take your picture / Till I die.”

“Big Star” is guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye of anyone who’s ever lost someone who created such a large impact on their life.

“Leader of a New Regime” in my personal opinion could be considered Solar Power part 2. It incorporates the same guitar sounds of “The Path”, but with more of the upbeat vibes and soft vocals of “Solar Power”. Lorde sings:

“made it to the island on the last of the outbound planes,”

This describes her escape into a new stage of her life moving from one regime to the next.

“Mood Ring” I would consider one of my favorite songs on “Solar Power”. It incorporates an upbeat early 2000s sound as well as the classic acoustic guitar. Even the title itself, “Mood Ring”, can be considered the early 2000s/90s vibe. The track is a spiritual ‘good vibes’ anthem with Lorde singing:

“Ladies bring your sun salutations / transcendental in your meditations / you can burn sage and I’ll cleanse the crystals.”

Lorde does it yet again with her warm feel-good lyrics, guaranteed to bring peace of mind to any listener.

The final song on the album is titled “Oceanic Feeling” which perfectly encapsulates the entire track. The track begins with the sound of nighttime insects chirping in the background. This song describes where she is now with her life and her lover, living on the beach under the blue sky and sunshine.

Although the lyrics are somewhat joyful, the song continues to have a much slower-paced and quiet tone that matches the rest of her slow songs on the album. She also seems to reminisce on her future, wondering what it would be like if she had a daughter,

“If I have a daughter / will she have my waist or my widow’s peak?”

The final song is much like a reflection on her past, her present, and her journey into her future.

Although I admit most of the songs on Solar power sound particularly similar, especially with her repeated use of acoustic guitar, early 2000s sounds and her layered vocals, “Solar Power” is unlike any album Lorde has released before. The album differs from Lorde’s first album “Pure Heroine”, which encapsulated ‘emotional teenage girl’, and “Melodrama,” which contained electronic qualities of Pure Heroine mixed with emotionally devastating tracks. “Solar Power” seems to be growth from both of her previous albums.

Her slower tracks on the album, however, still deliver the pain she’s cultivated previously over the loss of a lover.

The question is though, what comes next for Lorde? Her fans have been waiting relentlessly since 2017 for her to finally release “Solar Power”. Since then she has continued to stay dormant on all social media. When will her fans have to wait again, and if so, what version of Lorde will it be this time? Or will her audience, like she sings in “Stones at the Nail Salon”, “grow out” of her music that they once loved?