Universal Music New Zealand Limited
Four years after the melancholic Melodrama was released, Lorde is back with a new song. Coinciding with a northern hemisphere solar eclipse, and after being briefly and mistakenly distributed early on music streaming platforms, the sun-drenched Solar Power is here.
Solar Power feels happy and carefree. It is no coincidence that Lorde, an outspoken climate change activist, picked this to be the track’s title. It starkly contrasts her previous two albums, which poetically delved into teen and relationship angst in a post-digital age, layered over gloomy sonics or a pulsing bass. Solar Power swaps in subdued acoustic guitar strums, courtesy of previous collaborator Jack Antonoff, who is known for working with Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey. The song is elevated by backing vocals from Phoebe Bridgers and Clairo, which is reminiscent of a soulful choir.
You’ll feel compelled to sway along and yearn for a perfect summer, with the accompanying beachside set music video adding to the compulsion. Though it is ironic that Lorde proclaims that she “can’t stand the cold,” considering her “dazzling” 2020 trip to Antarctica, which even gained her a photographic feature in Rolling Stone.
The lyrics encourage “a new state of mind,” just as Lorde enters a new warm and upbeat sound. It’s a comforting song that begs for a return to basics – to throw your “cellular device in the water,” dissociate from modern life, and relax. It’s not too deep, but it is fun.
Lorde’s hiatus was worth the wait for this blissful bop – an inevitable summer anthem. She leaps out of Melodrama’s blue-drenched darkness and steps into the sunlight. It will be interesting to see if her next album, scheduled for release this year, can continue to make the long-awaited anticipation worthwhile and offer further depth in lyricism and tone.