25 August 2021-
Lorde is back with third album Solar Power. A very timely release: weeks after Billie Eilish started rocking the charts and on the heels of a global pandemic, this breezy album is most welcome!
Ever since a then 16-year old Lorde rocked the pop world (pun intended) with the 2013 smash hit “Royals“, everyone has been very interested in what the lady has to say. Or, rather, sing. After releasing the sophomore — and very well received — Melodrama in 2017, she is back this summer with album #3, the wonderfully named Solar Power. Everything from the artwork to the accompanying music videos to the songs themselves very faithfully conveys the idea implied in the title — this album is a celebration of the most natural kind.
Arguably, Lorde’s sound has always been rather ethereal, expressing a lot with a few carefully chosen instruments and production tweaks. However, this album may be the most bare that she has ever brought to life. Most notably, it is almost entirely devoid of electronic-sounding beats of any kind, emphasising the authentic nature of the recordings: many songs, like “Dominoes” or “Leader of the New Regime”, sound effectively acoustic, while the rest, such as “California”, always remain on the more minimalistic side. In the end, the title track summarises Lorde’s overall approach pretty well: her vocals feel deeply warm and intimate, while a couple of back-up singers, acoustic guitars, light percussions — and the occasional trumpet — do the trick.
By all accounts, Lorde circa 2021 enters musical maturity with a sound that is as pure as it very well could be. While it is somewhat strange to talk about ‘maturity’ for an artist who is still only 24, the fact remains that you can perceive the deepening outlook of a growing artist in most songs on Solar Power. And, while it may feel a little obvious, we cannot resist comparing this album to Billie Eilish‘s recent sophomore release, the chart topping Happier Than Ever, which essentially follows the same formula. Both artists are shedding more and more non-essential elements to their work to create a highly personal — and personable — sound over time. Which is interesting singe Eilish is a noted Lorde aficionado. And the circle is complete, much in the way the sun is increasingly proving to be humanity’s first and last source of power…