By Tori Templet | Staff Writer
After Lorde’s four-year hiatus, the well-known pop artist finally released her long-awaited third album, “Solar Power,” on Aug. 20. In contrast to “Melodrama,” her sophomore album released in 2017, fans were taken aback by the project in full.
Lorde released the title song of the album, “Solar Power,” as a single on June 11 and it only reached its peak on the Billboard Hot 100 charts at No. 64 on June 25. She then released “Stoned at the Nail Salon,” her second single from the album, on July 21, which was not recorded on the Billboard charts. In comparison to her previous chart-toppers, “Royals” is her only release that peaked at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and it stayed there for 44 weeks. While doing my research, these numbers shocked me as Lorde typically has a strong, passionate fan base of listeners.
Diving into the album, there is a lot to unpack. The vision behind this project was Lorde’s idea of escapism and self growth. As she has navigated the world of pop culture and the music industry, her lyrics reflect her rejection of what it’s like to be in the spotlight.
Within her first two albums, the instrumentation was synth-heavy with multiple layers of vocals. In contrast, on “Solar Power” listeners can notice the minimal production with layered acoustic guitars and simple vocals. This surprised many listeners, as this was not her “normal” sound. It brought an indie-acoustic feel to Lorde’s intricate lyrics and vocals.
Some say the album felt unfinished, but I would have to disagree. Lorde is changing directions with her sound and I have so much respect for that. She took four years to create “Solar Power” and I have no excuse not to be in love with it. Sure, it may not be “Melodrama” or “Pure Heroine,” but that’s okay.
As listeners of today’s pop music, we have seen many artists transform as they have grown. We have watched Taylor Swift go from country to pop to the indie-acoustic genre. That doesn’t mean what she created isn’t good. On the contrary, what she created was incredible, but it was different, and listeners might have questioned it while first listening. Artists are allowed to change course. I think Lorde releasing an album like “Solar Power” just goes to show that she has the guts to not conform to what the music industry would consider “good,” and her album showcases that nonconformity.
Three songs from the “Solar Power” album are featured within Lorde’s top five songs on Spotify right now, including “Solar Power” at No. 1, “Mood Ring” at No. 3 and “Stoned at the Nail Salon” at No. 5. However, my personal favorite from the album is “Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen it All).”
Allow artists to change trajectory. Give this album a chance. If you dig a little deeper, you will see the weight Lorde’s music carries through the words that she sings.