When thinking of Lorde’s previous hits, such as “Royals” and “Team,” I would not choose her as an artist to listen to as I relax and enjoy a beach day. Yet, with her latest release “Solar Power,” Lorde offers laid back, upbeat and woozy songs full of dreamy guitar lines and soothing layers of harmonies — the perfect album for kicking your feet up on the weekend.
“Solar Power” marks Lorde’s first release since 2017. After stepping off the stage on the last night of her “Melodrama” world tour in 2018, Lorde closed the curtains on the world as well, staying out of the public eye.
Now back in the limelight with a fresh sound, Lorde opens “Solar Power” with dreamy guitar arpeggios and a subtle background synth on “The Path.” Using introspective lyrics, Lorde softly sings, “Teen millionaire having nightmares from the camera flash / Now I’m alone on a windswept island” — which feels like a reference to her walking away from the public view to escape the challenges of teenage stardom.
To begin the second half of the song, Lorde belts, “Now if you’re looking for a savior, well, that’s not me.” She later sings, “Let’s hope the sun will show us the path.” This introduces the idea of healing through nature — a consistent theme for the album.
When describing “The Path” specifically, Lorde said in an interview, “There’s a lot of trust and faith and reverence based on people in my position, and more so than ever I think I realised that you cannot look to me for answers. We should all be looking to the sun, the ocean, nature.”
Musically speaking, the idea of healing through nature — specifically through the sun — comes across throughout the album. On the title track “Solar Power,” immediately following “The Path,” the stripped down beginning features an acoustic guitar, which becomes an upbeat, beachy tune with a laid back drum kit and soft vocal harmonies by the end. “Dominoes” has layers of bouncy, clean guitar and a single four-on-the-floor beat that left me swaying and dreaming of the sun. Every song on the album is well suited for a day spent outside.
The psychedelic lyrics offer more insight into nature’s healing capabilities. “Mood Ring” exemplifies this perfectly. The song feels straight out of the 1990s or early 2000s, due to its arpeggiated acoustic guitar and a laid back beat similar to the one used in “Solar Power.” With a light, feminine voice, Lorde sings, “Ladies, begin your sun salutations / Pluto in Scorpio generation / You can burn sage, and I’ll cleanse the crystals.”
At first, fans of Lorde’s previous work might be caught off guard by the soft vocals and mellow guitar lines. But, the album’s deep lyrics paint pictures of nature and healing, with instrumental lines and vocal harmonies that take the listener along for the journey. Lorde’s new sound and lyrics reflects the time she has taken for herself over the last few years and provides fans with a relaxing and enjoyable album perfect for the final days of summer.