Lorde – Solar Power (Dinked Edition, Limited Edition, Orange Marble Vinyl) – LP
Lorde – Solar Power (Dinked Edition, Limited Edition, Orange Marble Vinyl)
Lorde’s third album Solar Power was born out of an epiphany. “I was very much raised outdoors by the beach, in the ocean, outside,” the New Zealand pop titan says. “But it wasn’t until I got my dog that I understood how precious the natural world is and how many gifts there are for someone like me to receive. I felt like all I was doing was paying attention and being rewarded tenfold with things that would not just lift my mood, but legitimately inspire me.” The death of her dog, Pearl, in 2019, slowed down the production of the album, but what Lorde learned from him—the joy of being outside, even if it’s just at your local park—flows through the finished product.
Expressing all of that in the twisted, spring-tight pop of 2013’s Pure Heroine and its dizzying 2017 follow-up Melodrama was never going to work. So she turned instead to a (somewhat unlikely) palette crafted alongside returning producer Jack Antonoff—shuttling between LA and New Zealand in 2019 and 2020 and finishing it remotely during the pandemic—of ’70s Laurel Canyon and early-2000s pop. “I think, on paper, it doesn’t make any sense,” she says. “But I was like, ‘What’s something that’s captured the experience of being outside or feeling the sun and a certain kind of joy?’”
Solar Power might well be seen as just that: an album to kick back with on a summer’s day. But there is, as Lorde puts it, “deep and shallow” to this record. There are meditations on celebrity culture (“California”) and the wellness industry (“Mood Ring”), alongside sorrow for the destruction of the natural world. This isn’t, however, a climate change album (“It definitely wasn’t a goal of mine to make people care; I can’t make that happen for you”). If it’s about anything, she says, it’s about “the passing of time and being OK with that. All my work is sort of about that. All these works are just me trying to ask a series of questions. And if that makes people ask their own questions of their world, then I’ve done a good job.”