Kiwi indie-princess Lorde has finally dropped her third album, Solar Power, and I have to admit her new positive vibes are growing on me. Once again Lorde has teamed up with producer Jack Antonoff (name doesn’t ring a bell? This track might.) with whom she collaborated on her last album, Melodrama.
The album opens dreamily with a humble track titled The Path, apparently, it was one of the first tracks to be written for the album when Lorde was home in New Zealand, it features a strong 70s theme like many people expected from this album. I’d argue it’s a bit deeper than that though. Sonically, it invokes the imagination: what if the 90s kid met the 70s Woodstock hippy? If they met now, they’d probably both love this track and album.
You probably don’t need a reminder of the debut single Solar Power, but this track gives you your first taste of some of the best features and musical influences of the album. Lorde was especially excited to have Matt Chamberlain feature on this record as he drummed on many of her favourite songs from the 90s. His experienced percussion brings not only this track but the entire album to life. Both in this track and in hidden in other little spots across the album, we hear stunning backup vocals and influence from both Clairo and Phoebe Bridgers, who Lorde has described not only as her industry peers but close friends – honestly, I can’t think of a more iconic trio since Haim.
You might remember, way back in 2019 Lorde went to Antarctica as an Ambassador to better experience and understand the impacts of climate change. After returning we heard that this album would have a strong environmentalist theme but there is also another story weaved through the experience of the album. Particularly found in tracks like Stoned at the Nail Salon is a tale about musicians growing in fame, popularity and even the experience of moving to LA. This secondary story is told gently and instrumentally with eerie vocals reminiscent of another indie star Lana Del Rey.
Fallen Fruit is by far my favourite track on the album and describes the feelings Millennials and Gen Z gets when it comes to living in the midst of a climate crisis. Lorde describes the track as a message to past generations, saying it asks “do you know what you’ve done? How could you have left us with this?” Something that sets this track leagues above the others is the hauntingly beautiful guitar riff, likely played by Jack Antonoff, which could easily be mistaken for the work of Carlos Santana. A testament to the incredible amount of care and high-level production this album went through.
When exploring the albums environmental perspective Lorde says, “the album is a celebration of the natural world, an attempt at immortalising the deep, transcendent feelings I have when I’m outdoors. 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.”
Old-school fans and people who still use CDs for some reason might be surprised to find out that in regards to the physical release, Lorde said, “I decided early on in the process of making this album that I also wanted to create an environmentally kind, forward-thinking alternative to the CD. I wanted this Music Box product to be similar in size, shape and price to a CD, to live alongside it in a retail environment, but be something which stands apart and that’s committed to the evolving nature of a modern album.” To be fair, you’re getting a lot more merch/posters than you would normally get with a CD or Vinyl, for a pretty good price if you can spare it. I know as a fan I’ll be grabbing a copy, so definitely check it out.
Tickets are still available for (so far) her only show in Brisbane, March 2022. If you’re already a fan or looking forward to seeing her perform live I wouldn’t hesitate because tickets in the US and NZ have already sold out!