Stepping into the sun

Lorde releases her third album after a four year hiatus


Photo courtesy of Genius

On her third album, “Solar Power,” Lorde uses a photograph of herself on the main and alternate album covers.

Brenna Batchelder, Arts & Entertainment Editor

After disappearing into the sun with her second album “Melodrama”, New Zealand singer-songwriter Ella Yelich-O’Connor, also known as Lorde, released her third album on Aug. 20. Titled “Solar Power,” this album showcases the artist’s unique lyrical work within this upbeat and calming album. Throughout the album, the singer focuses on a variety of topics like climate change, growing up and change.  

Compared to her sophomore album, “Solar Power” introduces a new Lorde that faces the sun. The change in mood and subject matter caught listeners by surprise, but it was welcomed after a year filled with tragedy and stress. Before its release, singles like “Solar Power,” “Stoned at the Nail Salon” and “Mood Ring” showcased the development she has gone through within her hiatus and introduced her fans to this sunshine-filled era. 

Introducing the long-awaited album, “The Path” lures listeners in with its murky acoustics and dreamy vocals. Instantly, the airy track caught my attention with the pop-like undertones. Within the lyrics, Lorde discusses the idolization of celebrities and suggests that listeners should turn to nature to deal with their problems. She implements her own experiences in this complex subject matter in a way that makes listeners want to sing along with her. For the introduction track, I felt like this was a perfect welcome into this album, and it remains one of my favorites. 

After “The Path,” the lead single “Solar Power” is next up on the queue. As one of her most unique songs, “Solar Power” introduces the cheeriness of summer and appreciates the healing and joy that nature can provide. As the first song I listened to on this album, it caught me off guard. It differs greatly from her typical style but showcases the mood for this album.

“California” is the third track on this album. This song didn’t stand out to me at first, but Lorde is notorious for having her music grow on her listeners. The more I listened to this track, the more I grew fond of it. The mellow sound fits the comforting mood of the album. It’s overall a satisfying song and adds a nice touch to the tracklist. 

The fourth song on the album brings back the beloved sad girl writing that fans fell in love with. “Stoned at the Nail Salon” was released as a single and displayed the recurring theme of growing up and change. She reflects on being a teenager and adds some depth to the otherwise sunny album. 

“Fallen Fruit” discusses the fragility of our earth and specifically the way climate change is going to impact our world. Lorde is torn between wanting to love the world while acknowledging the fact that we are killing it. The build of the song makes this track even more interesting and unique. 

“Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen it All)” was the second single released for “Solar Power.” While in the process of writing and producing this song, the artist reversed the chords for her hit song “Ribs” (a song pertaining to the fear of growing up) and comforts her younger self. With the relaxing and positive beats in the background, this song calms any fears of her younger listeners while reminding her older viewers that life isn’t all that bad.

“The Man with the Axe” follows as the 7th track on the album. Compared to the previous track, this song transitions into a slower and more mellow sound. Her vocal performance is dreamy and soft while her lyrical work gives the feeling of cozy and melancholic. It’s not a song I would listen to daily, but it is beautifully written and I appreciate the artistry behind it.

Picking up the pace with another more upbeat track, “Dominos” falls as the 8th track. The soft strings in the background with her catchy vocals make this track one of my favorites. It is quite a simple and sweet song that discusses a past lover and how things have changed.

The next song, “Big Star” is about Lorde’s dog named Pearl. As an ode to her pet, she discusses how much she loved him while he was alive. Similar to “The Man with the Axe,” this song has melancholic vocals and softer sounds. This track didn’t catch my attention much, but I do appreciate this softer song. 

“Leader of a New Regime” serves as an interlude on “Solar Power.” Her soft and mesmerizing vocals make this song stand out as he describes a world impacted by climate change with a former pop star still infatuated with the scene. This song creates a nice flowy yet serious transition into the next track “Mood Ring.”

As the final single for “Solar Power,” the 11th track instantly became one of my favorite songs. With a catchy beat, “Mood Ring” discusses the ways that people try to stay emotionally and spiritually connected to the world whether that be through using a mood ring or going eastern and practicing their wellness cultures. This song was written satirically and holds deeper conversations about how toxic wellness culture could be in this day and age. Her complex commentary and pop-like rhythm make this song extremely memorable. 

“Oceanic Feeling” is the final track off of Lorde’s third album. The artist reflects on things like her future, past, family, and home. The six-minute song cycles through the same couple of chords but remains a powerful song that ends off the album cohesively. “Oceanic Feeling” truly feels like the credits rolling in this album that ponders growing up, change and major topics such as climate change. Again, it’s not a song I would go out of my way to play, but as the final song for this album, it does its job perfectly. 

After a lot of anticipation, this album definitely was worth the wait. Lorde does an amazing job at addressing major topics and relatable ones through her lyrics while also creating songs that you want to play over and over again. My favorites, which include “Dominos,” “The Path” and “Mood Ring,” found their way into my playlist and will be on repeat for quite a while. The artistry behind each track makes “Solar Power” an experience to listen to and my appreciation for Lorde grows as she continues to create. 

⅘ stars