Our Take: 5 Stars
After a four year hiatus, a trip to Antarctica, multiple email updates sent out to fans and a whole lot of growing up, Lorde released her third studio album, “Solar Power,” on Aug. 20. Produced in conjunction with Jack Antonoff and Malay, the album explores themes of Lorde’s transition into adulthood as the 24 year old singer croons about the celebrity lifestyle and the reality of getting older. These themes are accompanied by a consistent laidback soundtrack that relies heavily on acoustic guitars, a high contrast to Lorde’s usual arsenal of synthetic beats.
At the top of the twelve track album is a song entitled “The Path” that sets the tone for the album as Lorde sheds herself of the responsibility of pulling others out of a sadness she herself just learned how to handle. Lyrics such as, “ … now, if you’re looking for a saviour/Well, that’s not me/You need someone to take your pain for you?/Well, that’s not me” point towards one of Lorde’s overall messages of the album that harps on the importance of prioritizing your mental health and happiness. Within the same song, Lorde hints at the anxiety she experienced as a young celebrity, noting the nightmares she has of the flashes of the paparazzi camera. Lyrics along this theme seem to serve as Lorde’s explanation for taking so many years off in order to grow up outside of the pressure of the public eye.
“Solar Power” turns back slightly towards Lorde’s roots with “Stoned at the Nail Salon,” a moody ballad that served as the second single of the album. While the song is surely no “Ribs,” from her freshman album, it does invoke some of the same heart wrenching feelings of uncertainty and fear of missing out, but in a more mature setting than the party scene Lorde painted in the aforementioned fan favorite.
The highlights of the album include “Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen it All),” a song that discusses the desperation of being a young girl searching for the feeling of being desired. Another notable track is “Dominoes,” a message to the boy who seems to blow through second chances like cheap chewing gum.
One of the strongest songs of the album comes at the tail end with “Mood Ring,” a final attempt from Lorde to figure out her feelings through the use of millennial wellness tactics, including surrounding oneself with plants and crystals.
The loudest criticism of “Solar Power” has been it’s lack of radio worthy bangers.
Listeners that think this album is boring are going to be underwhelmed by the reality of getting older.
Once you get out of your angsty, melodramatic teenage years and begin to transition to adult life, Lorde seems to preach that everything becomes more simple and slow paced throughout the course of this album.
Lorde is self aware that she did not produce this album for the masses, and instead uses it as a personal diary guide for those of her fan base that are navigating the transition into adulthood at the same time as her. “Secrets from a Girl” reiterates this message with the lines, “…couldn’t wait to turn fifteen/Then you blink and it’s been ten years/Growing up a little at a time then all at once,” noting the incredibly terrifying passage of time.
Whether you grew up a millionaire off of a pop song about not being rich or you’re normal like the rest of us, this album can either be taken at face value as a nice soundtrack for hanging out outdoors, or listeners can dig a little deeper to excavate the lessons Lorde has learned throughout her journey to maturity that can be applied to their own lives when the time comes.