It’s Lorde.
It’s Lorde.

Pop CultureJune 11, 2021

Scorching takes on ‘Solar Power’: Lorde’s new single, reviewed

It’s Lorde.
It’s Lorde.

A new Lorde single, heralding a new Lorde album, both called ‘Solar Power’. Sand between our toes, we listen to the tune and watch the video.

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It’s been a long wait: a full four years since Melodrama. But Lorde fans were rewarded for their patience this morning with a blast of sunshine in their inbox.

“There’s someone I want you to meet,” she announced. “Her feet are bare at all times. She’s sexy, playful, feral, and free. She’s a modern girl in a deadstock bikini, in touch with her past and her future, vibrating at the highest level when summer comes around. Her skin is glowing, her lovers are many. I’m completely obsessed with her, and soon you will be too. It’s my divine pleasure to be introducing you, at long last, to my third studio album, Solar Power.”

The album, she says, “is a celebration of the natural world, an attempt at immortalising the deep, transcendent feelings I have when I’m outdoors. In times of heartache, grief, deep love, or confusion, I look to the natural world for answers. I’ve learnt to breathe out, and tune in. This is what came through.”

It’s not totally clear when the album as a whole will appear, but today we have ‘Solar Power’, the single, written and produced with her collaborator Jack Antonoff. “It’s about that infectious, flirtatious summer energy that takes hold of us all, come June (or December, if you’re a Southern Hemisphere baby like me but I know that’s literally IMPOSSIBLE for you all to wrap your little heads around so don’t worry about it!!)”

And: “I made everything with friends here in New Zealand. My best mate Ophelia took the cover photo, lying on the sand as I leapt over her, both of us laughing. The director who made my first ever music video, Joel, helped me create the videos, building an entire cinematic universe that I can’t wait for you to see. I made something that encapsulates where I’m from — my family, my girlfriends, my outdoors, my constant ruminations, and my unending search for the divine.

“There’s SO much more detail to come — a truly comical amount of detail, honestly. You can look to the natural calendar for clues. I’m trying to listen to what’s out there more, and the vibe I got was that you’re ready for this, that you need it. I want this album to be your summer companion, the one you pump on the drive to the beach. The one that lingers on your skin like a tan as the months get cooler again. Today’s the only solar eclipse of the year, did you know that? Feels right.”

We listened in the office, gazing wistfully at the beachy video (looks like Man O’ War beach on Waiheke Island, if you ask us). Here’s what we thought.

‘Solar Power’, reviewed

I’m tired and I’m cold and I’m old enough to have danced with my eyes closed at parties in the 90s to the hazy refrain lovingly borrowed here. I already feel warmer in my bones. Find me a Pōhutukawa, I need to dance under it with my cult while taking hits from a whole ass fennel bong. Love it. 

– Leonie Hayden

It’s a bop.

– Henry Oliver

Just what is it Lorde wants to do? She wants to go to the beach. She wants to go to the beach and have a lovely time. I adore it, instant classic, just seems a bit cruel to sing about hating the winter and having a lovely time at the beach as we nosedive into the grimness of winter. “I’m kind of like a prettier Jesus” is *chef’s kiss*.

– Toby Manhire

I am deeply a fan of the line of “I’m kind of like a prettier Jesus.” No notes. Into it. This video feels like the new Lord of the Rings: every New Zealander went to high school with somebody who is in it.

– Sam Brooks, TV editor, knows three people in this video

The music video is like if Midsommar was shot in New Zealand. Terrifying, beautiful, weird. Very into it. The song itself is so perfectly summery that it makes me want to drive straight to Devonport (or wherever people swim in Auckland). Except I won’t do that because it’s WINTER here, Lorde. I know you want to be an American but come on! Seriously, though, I love it. Lorde has always had the ability to instantly transport the listener to wherever she wants us to be – whether it’s a messy house party or, like, a tennis court – and right now the only place I want to be is the beach, surrounded by people in weird robes. 

– Stewart Sowman-Lund

It’s the wrong time of year, Lorde. No one’s at the beach. No one’s diving into the waves. At least, in New Zealand they’re not. We’re shivering under our duvets. We’re huddling under jackets and scarves. We’re clutching hot drinks and frowning. Yet, two minutes and five seconds into ‘Solar Power’, the beach is exactly where I’m transported to as Lorde’s first song in three years erupts in the kind of euphoric haze that can only come from an intoxicating combination of sand, sunshine and surf. Unlike ‘Green Light’, her last comeback banger, this a gentle reminder that our good Lorde does this kind of stuff exceptionally well: the quotable lyrics (“I’m kind of like a prettier Jesus?” Come on), the all-star supergroup combo of Clairo and Phoebe Bridges, the Easter Egg-laden video, and that gorgeous floating outro that makes me want to throw my hands up in the air. So there. –

– Chris Schulz (who is too old to have hot takes on a new Lorde song)

I’m scared of all the people in the video. The song is a bop especially when the beat drops at the end but I’m a bit sad that it’s currently winter and so we can’t realistically frolic in the waves like the vid suggests. Don’t forget your roots, my friend.

– Alice Webb-Liddall

Is there anyone among us who, given the basically inexhaustible stores of clout and cred and goodwill Lorde has now accumulated, wouldn’t spend all of our remaining summers forcing all 200 of our best friends to assemble like an earth-toned Voltron and do cute sun salutes on a white-sand beach while we sing free-association humblebrags over the opening 16 bars of ‘Freedom‘? No, there isn’t. And that’s why this is officially a Fennel Cone Winter.

– Matthew McAuley

“Beach”? Looks a lot like a prison camp to me.

– Ernest Penman

Listen to Lorde: Behind the Melodrama on Spotify or your favourite podcast provider.

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