“Solar Power,” the latest single released by indie-pop sensation Lorde, is the beginning of a new era for the 24-year-old artist. The New Zealand singer-songwriter is more famously known for her moody, introspective lyrics with music videos shrouded in darker colors and nightscapes. “Solar Power” couldn’t be more different.
When the single dropped on Thursday, June 10th (coincidentally timed with a solar eclipse, some fans noticed), listeners on Twitter were quick to point out how different “Solar Power” is from Lorde’s previous two eras. Pure Heroine, Lorde’s 2013 debut album and Melodrama, her most recent album from 2017, were equally distinct, with the former characterized by expressive synths and an emphasis on vocals. When Melodrama‘s lead single, “Green Light,” hit the charts fans were quick to criticize, calling out how different it was from the songs of her previous album.
Again with “Solar Power,” Lorde seems to be ushering in a new era of music, this one drastically more sunny and undulating than her previous two. And that’s a good thing. After the artist’s 2019 trip to Antarctica, a summerish beat is a perfect counterbalance to her adventures in the frigid environment, where she’s said to have developed the title for the forthcoming album.
A New Kind of Comeback
“I hate the winter, can’t stand the cold,” Lorde sings in the opening line of “Solar Power.” Not only is this a surprising jab at her time spent in Antarctica, but the indication that “Solar Power” is a shift into a new season previously untapped by the artist. The rest of the track follows suit, relying on a soft acoustic guitar for the majority of the track. “Come on and let the bliss begin/Blink three times when you feel it kicking in,” the singer commands in the final minute of the track before introducing a beat drop equipped with drums and catchy bass. “Solar Power” is versatile: its acoustic opening building into an outro that demands dancing, sonically transporting the listener to the beach. It’s summer in the form of a song, from a uniquely unexpected source.
Enter: The Solar Era
It’s unclear when Lorde’s next album is set to drop, but it’s notable that the artist has been making “happy, playful” music during her time in the studio. Lorde’s next era is shaping up to be something completely new from what fans have experienced in the past, which speaks to the versatility of her music. As a songwriter, Lorde is not aiming to please Billboard charts by producing a consistent sound. She’s experimenting with the music she releases and the emotions it captures, leading her listeners to amass a broad, varied catalog of tracks. Because it’s been 4 years since Melodrama, lovers of Lorde have grown and changed in that time. It’s a popular joke to say that Lorde’s musical eras signify new eras in her listeners’ lives, but that’s not completely false.
“Solar Power” is a spot of joy in a year that’s been difficult and full of change. This new, easygoing era is set to inspire and dazzle listeners who are looking for something lighthearted and fresh from the artist. Lorde doesn’t have to betray her musical roots to put out successful songs and that’s exactly what “Solar Power” demonstrates. She’s carving a new, summery path for her music and inviting her listeners along for the ride.
Featured Image via YouTube.