Lorde’s latest exhibits growth and change


Aytek Abdulla

Following the release of her critically acclaimed album, “Melodrama”, Lorde took a four-year hiatus. The indie-pop darling best known for putting the angst of adolescence into words had “disappeared into the sun.” 

She had virtually zero internet presence during these four years, with the exception of vague emails that she would send to fans sparingly. It became increasingly unclear when she would resurface. Regardless, fans eagerly awaited her return to the music scheme. 

The fateful day arrived on June 10 with the release of a new album’s lead single as well as an email by Lorde detailing her upcoming album, which instantly sent the internet into a frenzy.

“The album is a celebration of the natural world, an attempt at immortalizing the deep, transcendent feelings I have when I’m outdoors,” she wrote. “In times of heartache, grief, deep love, or confusion, I look to the natural world for answers. I’ve learned to breathe out and tune in. This is what came through.”

And on Aug. 20, Lorde, donning her yellow sundress, pulled us into the remarkable world of “Solar Power.” 

The luminous visuals of beaches and gleaming sunlight posed a stark contrast to those found in “Pure Heroine” and “Melodrama.” She references her past “Pure Heroine” days in her song, “Ocean Feeling,” “Now the cherry black lipstick’s gathering dust in a drawer / I don’t need her anymore / Cause’ I got this power.” It became abundantly clear that this was a different Lorde than previously seen and that the past four years had been important for the Kiwi singer. 

This new chapter is defined by Lorde’s strong relationship with nature and how it has impacted her understanding of life in the past four years. She has departed from the lights and glamour of celebrity life, as proven by songs such as “California.” The authentic wellness that nature supplies is something that Lorde implores all of us to seek out.

The sounds found within “Solar Power” mimic those outdoors. It does a remarkable job of transporting us to the natural world centered in this album. It also features 60s-70s folk-pop instrumentals with mesmerizing guitars in the background. While this is certainly a new branch for Lorde sonically, it pairs wonderfully with her voice and captivates listeners with the true magic of “Solar Power.”

Each of the tracks on “Solar Power” is brilliant and tells a story worth listening to. The album features an assortment of messages such as “Fallen Fruit,” which discusses living in a world ravaged by climate change and “Mood Ring” which critiques wellness culture in society. My personal favorites were “Fallen Fruit,” “Big Star,” “California” and “Mood Ring.” 

One of the main critiques of “Solar Power” is that it was too “happy.” Many have been turned off by Lorde’s new persona that differed so greatly from who they had seen four years ago. Contrary to popular belief, this album is not as untroubled as it may appear. While it certainly sounds more joyful than her past two works, “Solar Power” captures feeling lost despite the growth that you have undergone. That underlying somber, melancholic emotion echoes throughout the album as she reflects on her positive self-development throughout the years. Those who dismiss “Solar Power” with such criticisms fail to understand the nuances of the message. It outlines the story of self-actualization, beginning with personal reflection and ending with accepting her past and looking to the future. It is bittersweet and beautiful. She concludes in the final track of the album — “Oceanic Feeling” — “Oh, was enlightenment found? / No, but I’m tryin’, takin’ it one year at a time.” 

“Solar Power” is an album that will stick with you well after listening to it. I find myself falling more and more in love with it with each listen. I never pictured Lorde’s return as an artist quite like this, but I am more than grateful with how it came out. “Solar Power” feels like a fresh breath of hope, love, acceptance and spirituality and makes a wonderful addition to Lorde’s masterful discography. I highly encourage everyone to accept Lorde’s hand and allow her to guide you into the incredible world of “Solar Power.”  It’s not that hard, after all, all you have to do is “breathe out and tune in.”