Updated: Aug 25, 2021
Growth can be measured in inches, pounds, and in Lorde’s case, eras. Each methodically crafted and poetically constructed, we are so lucky to experience them in real time. Solar Power embodies growth. Shedding the angsty skin of the child we were when we were loitering and kicking it on tennis courts dreaming of the independence and prefrontal cortex we have now. Solar Power is reflective of the long nights we spent off our faces. Long before we could admit that nothing good happens after 2:00 AM. We simply are not the people we once were for better or worse. The album reads like a deep reflection on years passed in a ‘if only we knew then what we know now’ way.
Lorde nearly flawlessly depicts the exhaustion that Zillennials collectively feel. Inheriting a world that has been constantly catching on fire since the day we were born, literally and figuratively. We are left with no choice but to be kinda skeptical, bored of celebrities, admit we were being dramatic, and move forward anyway. In the age of what we get to deal with, Lorde seeks a satirical framework on the world that we’re being sold. Critical of the wave of new age capitalistic spirituality that lacks nuance. In the vein of lacking nuance, Lorde has caught flack from young people in response to her using protest noise from a climate change march as background noise in track ‘Dominoes’. We have seen struggles be commodified and bastardized by wealthy elites and this feels like just that. The satire becomes ironic. Aside from that, the album lacks prose and cohesion. Solar Power is definitely an album but it doesn’t feel like a collection of stars in the way that her past two records did.
The album is a grab bag of nearly perfect introspective pop songs and tunes that croon on for 2 minutes too long. Standouts include ‘California’, ‘Big Star’, and ‘Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen it All). Which is a direct response to the notorious song ‘Ribs’ off of her first album Pure Heroine. Lorde absolutely nails these pity party anthems that so many people relate to on spiritual levels. ‘Ribs’ and ‘Liability’ are like sisters and ‘Secrets from a Girl’ is the older and wiser cool cousin. Tunes like ‘Leader of a New Regime’, ‘Oceanic Feeling’ and ‘The Man with the Axe’ are the tracks that don’t do it for me.
It’s tough to top the works of art that are Pure Heroine and Melodrama especially when these albums will always be associated with chaos and all the intense feelings of adolescence. Moving from feeling scared when thinking of getting old vs. getting old and realizing it’s actually going to be okay is sobering.