Lorde’s ‘Solar Power’ disappoints after three year wait

Written By Lauren Hunter, For The Globe

3 Globes

Like many other Gen Z-ers, I woke on June 11 to a long awaited surprise—Lorde’s newest single “Solar Power.” The uplifting pop single is the first we’ve gotten from the artist since the release of her second album “Melodrama” in 2017 and the first sneak peek of her latest full album release, “Solar Power.”

Lorde has grown to become an icon among our generation; what sets her apart from other popular artists is that she grew up alongside us.

The release of her debut album, “Pure Heroine,” when Lorde was only 16 years old, solidified her ability to relate to fans by creating an album that very accurately depicts this idea of reckless adolescence and the teenage experience. Her second album, “Melodrama,” succeeded again in relating to those same fans in that weird space that we all find ourselves in; beyond the haze of our teenage years and before the vast unknown of adulthood. She makes her fans feel understood: through her music, we aren’t alone.

The release of her third album was heavily anticipated. Fans constantly asked themselves where the acclaimed singer was hiding since she disappeared after the release of Melodrama. She answered this in a New York Times interview where she explained that she was living a “normal” life in her hometown in New Zealand.

A lot of people place this pressure on Lorde to tell them how to process their own lives, which of course is a lot of pressure for anyone. So, she told the New York Times that she got rid of all of her social media and contact to the world, in an effort to create the best piece of artwork she could.

She released singles: “Stoned at The Nail Salon,” and “Mood Ring,” then finally released the album titled “Solar Power” in its entirety on Aug. 20. Initially, it started to receive criticism from her fans.

One of the biggest criticisms (I use that word loosely) of Lorde’s newest music is that it doesn’t feel as relatable. Her newest album is all about finally becoming this adult you yearned to be.

In the sixth track, “Secrets From a Girl (Who’s Seen It All),” there is a line that says: “Couldn’t wait to turn 15, then you blink and it’s been 10 years. Growing up a little at a time, and then all at once.” In “Stoned at the Nail Salon,” she sings: “all of the music you loved at 16 you grow out of.” Many fans feel that Lorde’s music isn’t sad enough for them to relate to. The line in “Stoned at the Nail Salon” feels like a call to her fans that just because her music is not the same anymore, doesn’t make it any less good.

In “Leader of a New Regime,” Lorde writes about how she is living on an island, and asks for someone to lead the “lovers of paranoia and lust.” This is another call to the fact that she no longer has the responsibility of helping struggling fans through her music but understands the necessity of it.

A recurring theme throughout the album is the importance of taking care of yourself. Regardless of who is in your life and the circumstances that you are in, you have to want the best things for yourself; this is what she seems to be doing for herself, which I think is beautiful to see.

Another criticism of “Solar Power” is the production; most fans felt disappointed that there were no “bops” or aurally impressive songs on this album like her other two provided. However, I would say that the more calm, sonic qualities of the album further prove Lorde’s contentment with herself and her life, which she is clearly trying to show to her fans.

Personally, I was a little disappointed with the release of “Solar Power.” As a lover of the dark, deep nostalgia that comes with Pure Heroine and Melodrama, I was expecting another album about misunderstanding where you are in life and where you are supposed to be, which I think a lot of fans would agree with.

Instead, Lorde released a beautiful composition of acceptance with life, while still throwing in bits of nostalgia for our youths. Part of the problem with the release of this album and the criticism that followed is how heavily anticipated the release was. The expectations were so high, it feels like no one would be able to reach them.

Like I said, upon first listen I was a little disappointed. However, upon further listening and analysis of “Solar Power,” I feel a sense of pride that Lorde was able to find herself and grow into this person who is content with her life. Lorde has mentioned how proud she is of the album, regardless of the expectations and/or criticism that came along with it.