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Lorde’s Solar Power Album Review: A Blazing Triumph

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

After mesmerizing the listening public with her 2017 tour-de-force Melodrama, Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor (better known as Lorde) has returned to the public eye with her third album, Solar Power. The 12 songs, produced by Jack Antonoff of Bleachers and folklore fame, perfectly capture both the drowsy and energetic feelings of a 90 degree afternoon. Each track is a vehicle for Lorde’s masterful lyrics, impressive vocals and soft instrumentals. Solar Power’s general sound is unlike the synth-driven, electronic feel of O’Connor’s past albums, and yet it is the quintessential Lorde record.  

For an avid Lorde fan, the imagery of Solar Power seems like an older and wiser version of her debut, Pure Heroine. Rather than fixating on the guy from “400 Lux” who drives her home and buys her orange juice, she pledges her love for “The Man with the Axe.” The girl who belted about how “it feels so scary getting old” on “Ribs” now recognizes that “all the music you loved at 16 you’ll grow out of.” (Sorry Ms. O’Connor, but I listened to your music at 16 and I have not grown out of it.) Her look has changed too: O’Connor references how her “cherry-black lipstick’s gathering dust in a drawer.” With this album, she has proven for a third time that poeticizing the mundane makes for beautiful lyrics.

In addition to the introspective and nostalgic patterns of the album, there are also songs that celebrate how O’Connor feels right now. To listen to Solar Power is to look into the mind of a young woman who wants to celebrate every little piece of joy in her life. For some members of the listening public, seeing the formerly purple-lipped musician with an intense stare grooving in a yellow dress to a song about sunshine is jarring. I would argue that those who find the album lacking in depth are missing an important point: that joy can feel as potent as sadness, and the breezy tone of Solar Power is what O’Connor deserves and the world needs right now. In the meantime, O’Connor will continue to “lead the boys and girls onto the beaches.”   

Classics nerd, hardcore feminist, music lover.
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