‘Solar Power:’ Soothing, sunny and simple

The music box cover for “Solar Power.” The album art was heavily influenced by yellows and beachy tones.

Universal Music Group


Aize Hassan, Layout Editor

  Released at the end of summer in August, Lorde’s third album, “Solar Power” is true to its name, staying beachy and minimalist.

   If there was an album that perfectly captured the feeling of sad introspection while lying in the sun on a deserted, tropical island, this would be it. Off the bat, the lead single (also named “Solar Power”) sets the tone for what is to come: a goodbye to her old eras. In fact, the music video itself juxtaposes the one for “Green Light,” the leading single from her sophomore album, “Melodrama,” with her running around in yellow on the beach, rather than at night in a dark city.

   Although, the biggest break-off from her previous music comes in the form of production. The melodies are overall, quite simple. Each song feels predictable, with similar instrumentals all the way through: acoustic guitar, occasional drums and piano, with not much creativity with production. Unlike “Melodrama,” which features a lot more experimental sounds, such as the chorus in “The Louvre,” this album is heavily focused on her vocals. The wildest feature would probably be the mock-air hostess’s monologue at the end of “Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen it All).”

   Every song seems to progress in the same way: a slow start that picks up a little bit during the chorus. The lack of variety causes a lot of the songs to feel the same. Sure, it is not the worst thing in the world, but it conglomerates them into one big indistinguishable mass.

   At least the punchy drums paired with melodies in tracks like “The Path” are very reminiscent of the early-2000’s. At times (specifically during the upbeat parts) it was hard not to be reminded of the songs that would play in “Winx Club,” which was actually kind of endearing.

   Despite everything, the most magical aspect of this album is the writing. In typical Lorde fashion, every song feels personal and full of layers and connections. Lyrics like “Now the cherry-black lipstick’s gathering dust in a drawer” from “Oceanic Feeling” draw parallels between who she used to be versus who she is now.

   When her first album became widely successful in 2014, she was usually seen wearing black lipstick. Her lyrics highlight the overarching theme of the album: Lorde’s journey to becoming comfortable in living a quiet life and growing older, while putting away parts of her past. Little hints like that are sprinkled all throughout and they help make the songs so much more exciting and special to the listeners that can pin-point their meanings.

   There is also a lot more commentary about the current world in the writing as compared to her previous two albums. “Mood Ring” and “Dominoes” mock new-age practices that have popped up increasingly since the start of the pandemic. “Fallen Fruit” and “Leader of a New Regime” comment on climate change due to global warming.

   Altogether, the album deserves three out of five stars. The lack of exciting instrumentals definitely categorize the album as a “grower,” since appreciating a song for its lyrics takes more than one listen. “Solar Power” had so much more potential and wiggle room for Lorde and her co-producer, Jack Antonoff, to play and experiment with. The whole album only comes up to about 43 minutes.

   Although, one man’s three stars are another man’s five. If soothing, sunny and simple sound appealing, “Solar Power” can be streamed on all platforms.

A still from the “Solar Power” music video. The entire video consisted of her dancing around on the beach.