Lorde is entering her “why the fuck not” era as she hints at what may come next at Sziget Festival

With new material dropped into the set just because, Lorde's evolving tour suggests whatever does come next, it's going to be massive.
Photo credit: Frances Beach

“This is my summer vacation too,” says Lorde, onstage at Sziget. She’s spent the past week playing a handful of European festivals, with the gigs moving away from the sun-soaked art installation of her Solar Power tour and towards whatever comes next. As you can imagine from one of the most exciting pop artists of a generation, The Internet has been awash with theories, excitement and rumours, with every show dissected for clues. “I just made a set where I got to dance the entire time,” Lorde explains tonight.

True to her vision, her sunset slot at Sziget is a twisting, driving party. Flume’s crunching remix of breakout single ‘Tennis Court’ and a return of ‘Magnets’, her bass-heavy collab with Disclosure, set the pace for the evening while ‘Solar Power’ and ‘The Path’ prove that Lorde knew exactly what she was doing on that third album.

Even sad songs are twisted into moments of joy. ‘Hard Feelings’ starts off fragile but morphs into swaggering defiance, with the gnarled outro adding lashings of euphoria. “We can cry together,” says Lorde, with the track shifting into hammering, community anthem ‘Team’.

Allowing for a moment of calm, Lorde introduces herself to the crowd (it’s her first time in Hungary, but it’s apparently love at first sight) before reflecting on her journey so far. “I’ve been writing these really personal songs about little moments in my life for around ten years,” with ‘Liability’ about a particularly painful moment where she found herself crying in a taxi, afraid “no one would ever love me, for me.”

“Sitting here tonight, seven years later, I can tell you that’s not true. If you are the most you, you can possibly be, people will love that. You’ve got to go towards who you’re meant to be,” she encourages. “Be your most self”. If you were looking for clues about Lorde’s new era…

There are other hints as well. The show starts with a sample pad displayed on the giant video screens, with a hand slowly building the intro to game-changing pop song ‘Royals’. A quick pan of the camera reveals it’s Lorde, who then sings the first half of the song down the barrel of the lens before she walks out onstage. Later, she plays “very new” song ‘Silver Moon’. Online, she’s explained it’s not currently part of an album, and just wanted to set it free from her laptop. “Shut your eyes and feel it with me,” she tells the crowd at Sziget, who quickly get caught up in the giddy track. There are hints of Melodrama’s sleek pop in the track, and the lyrics see her venomous, confident and searching for a pure moment of escapism while also talking about quiet, sprawling change. It’s such a banger though that the theories can wait.

A closing run sees Lorde return to that charged party atmosphere, with ‘The Louvre’, ‘Supercut’ and ‘Ribs’ before giddy closer ‘Green Light’. Six years after it was first released, the joyous track still has the ability to send a crowd feral, but it’s dialled up another notch tonight with Caroline Polachek joining Lorde onstage. It’s a smirking team-up, with the pair toying with the electric energy and clearly having the best time.

When Lorde played London last year, she spoke about wanting to write bangers again after the psychedelic intricacies of ‘Solar Power’. Rather than a return, though, this run of shows feels like the start of something new. There are already flickers of gleeful recklessness, fierce ownership, and not holding anything back as Lorde chases feel-good vibes at every turn. Welcome to the “why the fuck not” era.