Lorde has long been the deity that could have lived on your street when you were a child. The 24-year-old New Zealander, both a laid-back homebody and one of music’s most enigmatic stars, has a unique energy and approach to her craft; elements that led her to be cited as a voice of her generation. On his first album, 2013’s Pure heroine, she unwrapped the anxieties of growing up in the suburbs, weighed down by a world much bigger than herself, making her fans feel “seen” by her frankness. Four years later, she made a best-of-the-century breakout album with Melodrama, further deepening that connection. So it’s no surprise that the pressure of being portrayed as a messiah seems to have reached Lorde on her latest album, Magic and Improvement. Solar energy.
Here, the specifics of the existence of teens and early twenties are less obvious. But she’s aware of that disconnect, talking about the same celebrity and the same excesses she once lamented on her breakup track. “RoyalsIn another context. Having acquired it, she has now lived the experience of ease and considers herself more as a down to earth and anchored Norman. Yes Pure heroine and Melodrama were albums that embraced the ugliness of growing up, then Solar energy is a record about an adult, realizing the rare power she has accumulated over eight years in the limelight. Upon her, she urges us to look beyond her for answers to our problems, pointing to the same source of her own consolation: the world around her.
It’s made up of the kinds of questions we’ve all asked ourselves over the past year: What matters in my life? What makes me happy? Am I investing my time in the right things? Am I truly grateful for the planet we live on? Memes have been around compare the overall themes of the album to this woman in that skirt and toed shoes you see wandering the flea markets, believing only in holistic therapy and gems. In some ways it’s a fair picture of what Solar energy flike eels, although more contemplative and spiritual than deranged and moralizing. The glimmers of the early 2000s acoustic pop she referred to are all present here, but imagine that as a pre-Ample Nelly Furtado record with glimmers of “Pure shores“”, “The Californian dream ‘” and “Live forever” too much.
This spirituality is evoked from the offset on the choral and acoustic opening âThe Pathâ. It is about the rejection of fame; a desire for very human responses; a realization that no matter how much the public makes her their personal Jesus, âthe Savior is not meâ.
â, She sings on her chorus. “Hopefully the sun will show us the way.” On the contrary, it feels like a loss of Lorde’s melancholy as a hallmark of her music. The rest are – for the most part – simple pleasures and personal care.
Jack Antonoff’s production – something that has become a controversial topic among popheads recently, who see his style shaping his productions too much for others (Lorde recently called such âsexistâ and âdownright insultingâ accusations) – softens the case and keeps it tight. Underneath his almost incessant acoustic guitars are less obvious, more woozier electric strings, crackling drums courtesy of Matt Chamberlain (responsible for the same on the Fiona Apple classic Tide) and vocal choirs composed, for the most part, of Clairo and Phoebe Bridgers.
There was no promise of radio success here, and Lorde isn’t lying, but she did manage to form many earworm tunes. “Secret from a Girl (Who’s Seen It All)” is the closest album to a post-pop hit “Solar Power”, a melon-fresh, harmonious and eerie sounding letter Lorde wrote to herself. younger. “Member, what did you think was grief before you got the call?” / Little girl, no one will feel the pain for you, âshe sings. (The call refers to news of Pearl, her deceased dog, who is falling ill.) “You’re going to love again, so try to stay open / And when the time is right, you’ll fall.”
Ophelia Mikkelson Jones
The hook of the chorus gives way to a heartwarming semi-ASMR outro, in which Robyn, CEO of crying on the dance floor, takes on the role of a sci-fi flight attendant speaking overhead. a tannoy (âYour emotional baggage can be picked up at Carousel # 2 / Be careful it doesn’t run into someone you loveâ), offering wise advice as always.
Even the most thematically depressing tracks aren’t as gloomy as you might expect. The only brilliant piece of firework on the entire record, in fact, is the roar of the 808 drum that appears in the middle of “Fallen Fruit,” a track about the effect our elders had on a planet they were with. will not have to deal with in its most tragic and imminent chapter. While playing, Lorde imagines herself leaving the earth for a new utopia under the guise of cataclysmic rains like a black superhero, “from the Nissan, to the Phantom, to the airplane”.
But even this track is not a huge shock absorber on Solar energythe spirit of; its silver lining being, as Lorde herself puts it, “the way I feel when I’m outside is cheerful, light and grateful”. It’s reflective, rather than depressing. Likewise, âBig Star,â an ode to her dog Pearl, who passed away in 2019, is less of a painful praise than a sweet song about how much she loved him when he was alive, and how much bigger the landscape was when. Pearl was one of them.
For those who wanted Lorde to come back with an album that would hit you hard, making you feel seen on the first listen, Solar energy will not be. Instead, see it as a germinating seed that takes time and investment. First impressions could fool you. Lethargic, slow, or heavy it might seem at first glance, in reality Lorde’s energy simply flows through us differently. The jugular euphoria carried by his music is now a long, slow draw of a joint.
On the most beautiful and brilliant closest to the album, “Oceanic Feeling,” Lorde contemplates her home, her family, her wild past and her unpredictable future – but more respects where she is right now: ” Grateful for this offer, and all living things / Under the sun, “she sings. To the most loyal fans, those who have long deified her, this sounds like a monumental offering in itself: one that reminds you her genius while graciously directing you to her inspiration too, as if she was saying, nonchalantly, Lorde’s new shrug: “You too are capable of creating deep things in this world.”
She’s so good at it, so convincing and smart you’ll feel like it Solar energy‘s comes out as this seed begins to grow upward, eventually blossoming into a flower. She may not be our divinity anymore, but in the world of pop music, Lorde’s ability to create art in motion is everlasting.