And on the 1455th day, the good Lorde created ‘Solar Power’. Lorde’s return – her first single in over four years(!) – is an outpouring of joy and hope, less when we need it most, but rather when we’re ready to relish in it.
Living out in New Zealand, Lorde’s been basking in that post-lockdown optimism for some time now, long enough for her to cook up an equally optimistic summer banger just as the weather in the Northern hemisphere kicks up a notch and Real Life rears its head. ‘Solar Power’ isn’t a ‘we’re gonna get through this’ track, it’s a ‘chin up, the worst bit is over’ track (by worst bit we obviously mean the four-year drought between albums).
All that euphoria is delivered in a different package this time around, there’s not a synth in sight, just an acoustic guitar opening, perhaps signalling a far more ‘organic’ sound for this Lorde cycle. Now, this isn’t a boring acoustic guitar mind, it’s acoustic by way of – as you’ve probably heard – ‘Freedom 90’ by George Michael. There’s an A Tribe Called Quest reference in the verses, it’s got the swagger of ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ (funnily enough referenced in Haim’s ‘Summer Girl’, which this tracks ALSO recalls), and it goes out with a bang with a gospel ending.
Lorde took a trip to Antarctica between releasing ‘Melodrama’ and writing this, so it’s wonderfully ironic that she signals her comeback with the lyrics “I hate the winter, can’t stand the cold”. She also went completely silent on social media, communicating with fans only via email, which makes sense of the “Can you reach me? No, you can’t!” line. Maybe there’s a connection to ‘Green Light’ in here somewhere? Remember how her ex lied about loving the beach? (She also posted a lot about onion rings, but despite all our research we can’t find any nods to them here.)
There’s the lyric of the year – “I’m kinda like a prettier Jesus” – which is not only very true but also a genius revision of her stage name. The video is pure Mother Earth cum Aphrodite summer goddess vibes, and it’s wonderful to know that the whole thing was created with her friends in New Zealand (a fact she shared also via email). The single also dropped on the day of this year’s solar eclipse, which isn’t a coincidence as she notes we should look to the natural calendar for release date clues. This is all very Scorpio of her.
Apparently, Phoebe Bridgers and Clairo did the backing vocals on this one, a lovely detail, and it sounds like it’s about to get REALLY Taylor Swift this cycle too. No, we don’t mean because she’s gone all authentic and Jack Antonoff is aboard for the ride, noooo, it’s because there’s a ‘comical amount of detail’ coming, according to her.
‘Solar Power’ confirms a few things we already knew about Lorde. She’s a sonic shapeshifter, sliding into any iteration of pop she fancies and making it fresh and utterly glorious. She’s also clearly one of the most recognisable voices in pop and it’s solidified in this marked change from her electronic beginnings.
With all that being said, it’s good to have Lorde back isn’t it? ‘Solar Power’ is a warm hug from a friend you haven’t seen for years (extremely relatable analogy). It’s familiar and soft. It’s the windows down on a hot day and the cold waves on your feet. Most of all, it’s a big tangy glass of orange juice when you’re really thirsty, and Lorde, my dear, we’ve been PARCHED.