Track Review: Solar Power // Lorde

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On the day the Northern Hemisphere tried to view a partial solar eclipse, it took a singer-songwriter from the Southern Hemisphere to burn away the grey clouds: Lorde returned with her new aptly-titled single ‘Solar Power’.  

It is four years since Lorde brought us sophomore album Melodrama; building upon the brooding—almost menacing—indie-pop soundscape of debut Pure Heroine. Melodrama introduced dancescapes and electro-pop whilst retaining the dreamy vocals and uniquely quirky lyrical observations. Unlike the bold disco-inspired ‘Green Light’ that launched Melodrama, ‘Solar Power’ is a stripped-back lead single to Lorde’s forthcoming third album. Opening with the rhythmic strumming of acoustic guitar and Lorde’s trademark spoken vocal style, the track has echoes of George Michael’s ‘Faith’. We even get a nod to A Tribe Called Quest: “Can I kick it? Yeah, I can.” 

From the outset, this is a song that grabs you and holds your attention—understated or not. The detail in the lyrics teases your neurons. The subtle musical twists open your synapses. One moment we have the punchy spoken delivery, then angelic soaring backing vocals which previous Lorde songs have employed to such powerful effect. In this instance, backing vocals by Clairo and Phoebe Bridges no less.

With references to “overripe peaches” and “girls dancing in the sand”, the track burns with the warmth of summer rays. When we reach the soaring chorus, ‘Solar Power’ blazes with enough energy to power a thousand summer evening beach parties. The chorus takes us back thirty years to the acid house fuelled vibe of Primal Scream’s ‘Loaded’. 

Fans of Lorde have waited patiently, as Lorde’s own social media references, for new music. With ‘Solar Power’, she has “turned it on in a new kind of bright” by fusing chilled vocal delivery and acoustic guitar with retro electro-pop rhythms. ‘Solar Power’ is perfectly named return for Lorde; renewing old school dance elements and adding her style. A scorching single.

Words by Andrew Butcher


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