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Why Solar Power is the Perfect Album for the Culmination of your Coming of Age Story

When Solar Power was first released, many dismissed the album as Lorde’s worst work. While I have not spent much time listening to Lorde’s previous albums, I couldn’t believe that the majority of her fanbase disliked Solar Power as much as they did. However, the more I listened to it, the more I realized that this may have been because it resonated with me as a twenty one year old in ways that differed from how someone in their teens felt about it. 

Your early twenties are a very pivotal point in your life. It is a time in which many choices begin to define your adulthood. Lorde’s Solar Power explores this through themes of personal growth. While many experience anxiety, fear, and an overall sense of hopelessness throughout their twenties, Solar Power rejects this existential dread in the best way possible. It touches on topics that require quite some reflection, such as self-improvement, grief, and personal beliefs, all of which are far more nuanced than the reoccurring themes of suburban adolescence and teen angst in her first two albums. 

“Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen it All)”, a personal favorite, addresses the importance of self improvement. For the pre-chorus she sings “Couldn’t wait to turn fifteen / Then you blink and it’s been ten years / Growing up a little at a time, then all at once / Everybody wants the best for you / But you gotta want it for yourself, my love”. Here she explores the beauty in growing up. Rather than feeling nostalgic about one’s youth, she encourages the listener to accept adulthood with open arms. 

Throughout the album Lorde even discusses grief. The track “Big Star” is about the admiration she had for her dog and the emotions she faced as she mourned its death. This is a particularly touching song for someone in their early twenties who may be facing the loss of a loved one for the first time in their life. This also happens to be the time in which many young adults begin to lose their childhood pets, something that is synonymous with their adolescence. 

In “Leader of a New Regime”, Lorde touches on the ramifications of climate change, a concern that only grows with age. The song is short and sweet. In under two minutes Lorde brings the irreversible changes of climate change to light. She sings “Won’t somebody, anybody, be the leader of a new regime? / Free the keepers of the burnt-out scene another day / Lust and paranoia reign supreme.” Rather than being an over the top song that is clearly about an inhabitable environment, it is very subtle and something that can easily fly under a listener’s radar. I find it to be very symbolic of how our generation views climate change, it’s definitely a concern but not something that can’t be easily addressed by gen z alone.

Although I can unapologetically say Solar Power is by far one of my favorite albums ever, I can also acknowledge that the album just doesn’t resonate with others in the same way that it does with me. I, for one, can say that it’s likely that I would’ve also disliked the album if I were a few years younger. It is an album that I firmly believe is made for listeners that are in the process of accepting their adulthood. With that being said, when you’re ready for the culminating stage of your coming of age story, be sure to listen to Solar Power to enhance the experience!

Laylani Cedano is a first year transfer student at the University of California San Diego. She is currently a Communication major and plans to pursue a career as a talent manager in the entertainment industry. During her free time she enjoys roller-skating, thrifting, and hanging out with friends. Some of her interests include music, film, and anything pop culture!
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