Lorde — Solar Power — Album Review
Singer-Songwriter | Indie | Pop
When it comes to making a massive splash in the 2010s, the musical project of New Zealand singer-songwriter Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor, known as Lorde, is a special case indeed.
First bursting onto the scene with her debut album Pure Heroine, containing the iconic track “Royals”, Lorde seemed to have no trouble at all when it came to hitting the ground running. This success was only furthered by the release of her sophomore album Melodrama in 2017, which has been praised by many as one of the best albums of the decade.
Now venturing into the newer decade of the 2020’s and this year sees Lorde arrive with her highly anticipated third studio effort.
Solar Power was first teased by a single sharing the same name. This title track suggested a strong aesthetic, which truly does the title justice. The track carries some of that anthemic feeling, that made tracks like “Green Light” and the aforementioned “Royals” so iconic. However, it executes this in a more soft and warm way; perfect for an album that carries the title of Solar Power.
Following this, we get another teaser release. This time, it already seemed like Lorde had her slow-burner before us. “Stoned at the Nail Salon” is very accessible in the sense that it is very typically that kind of slow-burning ballad. However, it still carried some engaging qualities.
Fast-forward to this Friday just gone, and the complete album is finally here. I imagine, at this stage, that many people who anticipated the album so highly couldn’t wait to get into it. In my case, however, this would serve as the first Lorde album I’ve listened to end to end. And perhaps, Solar Power may’ve been the most unfortunate gateway album for someone like myself.
The album has received some very mixed reviews. But most seem to veer towards disappointment. But what do I think of it?
Well, I will say that the strongest quality that Solar Power has would be its aesthetic. It felt clear from the get-go that this was an album crafted to rejuvenate listeners with that relieving summer warmth. That, at least, was something I feel was done extremely well.
But there’s a big void that this album leaves; that being the lack of any true anthems. I would argue this quality was what truly put Lorde on the map. Without this, Solar Power suffers from blending in too much to the typical indie singer-songwriter framework that listeners like myself are too used to. In other words, this album feels far lees like something that is unmistakably Lorde.
I especially felt this way towards the later part of the album. While songs in the earlier half were predictable yet still enjoyable, I began to lose interest the more Solar Power progressed.
I can definitely resonate with the disappointment felt by some who anticipated this album so greatly. In a weird ironic twist, it reflects the british summer of 2021 quite well, with the shared scarceness of memorable moments.
Favourite Tracks: Solar Power | Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen it All) | Oceanic Feeling
Least Favourite Tracks: The Man with the Axe | Mood Ring
Universal Music New Zealand
Enjoyment: 6/10 | Memorability: 4/10 | Atmosphere: 8/10
Uniqueness: 5/10 | Satisfaction: 3/10 | Narrative: 7/10