By Jake Kelly
Lorde’s gentle emergence back into the world after her second four-year hiatus with “Solar Power” urges us to look towards the natural world and guides us into her summertime headspace, where in her native New Zealand, she is now entering winter. Wherever we may be located, while listening, our minds will conjure up endless expanses of turquoise waves twinkling under a blazing sun, and maybe, a juicy peach or two.
Written with producer and friend Jack Antonoff, the song is described by Lorde in an email to fans as being about “that infectious, flirtatious summer energy that takes hold of us all.” Her third album, of the same name, will celebrate her love of nature, the feral and free energy that lives inside of us all, and her closest circle. The “Solar Power” universe is a collective brain-child of Lorde’s friends and of New Zealand itself: her friend Ophelia playfully snapped the eye-popping album art and her friend Joel Kefali’s directorship on the music video is a throwback to her very first music video for “Royals,” released in 2013.
This very music video is our first glimpse into this album’s universe, where Lorde struts, sways, and skips across a sandy, secluded beach, with the craggy New Zealand rocks encasing her private getaway. Her cast of helpers, who hand her shells and drinks, and provide gentle dancing in loose, muted clothes surround her in a summer warmth. The teal expanse of ocean and Lorde’s bright yellow dress stand out as she flashes us genuine smiles, saying, “Forget all of the tears that you’ve cried, it’s over.”
After a long year, “Solar Power” is healing, exhibiting verses and angelic back-up vocals from Phoebe Bridgers and Clairo that have you preening towards the light like a little potted plant on a back porch. Throughout, Lorde is attune to the details, infusing her lyrics with referenced acid greens and aquamarines, as well as the gentle hues of summthat appear in sunburnt skin and baskets of fresh fruit and treats. Whether in rolling fields atop a blanket or on a tropical oasis, this season of her awakening has us all imagining the same pallet.
Lorde’s release of “Solar Power” took place on June 10, the only solar eclipse of the year. Following the theme of the natural world, she told fans to look to the natural calendar for additional clues. In that same email, she wrote “I want this album to be your summer companion, the one you pump on the drive to the beach. The one that lingers on your skin like a tan as the months get cooler again.” The album, complete with 12 songs and 2 bonus tracks, will be released on August 20.
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