The first single from Lorde's new album is here, but how does it stack up to the rest?
Solar Power is the first single from Lorde's forthcoming album of the same name, and once again, it unveils a complete new sound for the New Zealand musician.
Over the last week, there's a strong chance you've seen the internet erupt with news of Lorde's new material. It comes in the form of Solar Power, a new single with a butt cheek-flashing cover art that has been meme'd to the corners of the universe, in a way that Lorde apparently finds quite fascinating: "It’s a specific experience thinking about everyone in your life seeing your butt," she told triple j in an exclusive interview. "I have no regrets. I love this cover and happy for this to be how people see my butt."
Today, the single officially arrived, bringing with it the first taste of the New Zealand musician's long-awaited and somewhat overdue third album, said to be also titled Solar Power. Produced by super-producer Jack Antonoff and featuring backing vocals from Clairo and Phoebe Bridgers, Lorde's heralding return isn't exactly what you'd expect. It's remarkably low-key and subtle, but in a more indie-folk way that feels like a route Lorde is really yet to explore; the musicians vocal taking up nearly all the space in the song, until the production sweeps in its final minute.
Much like Green Light was for opposite reasons, it's pretty safe to say that Solar Power is divisive. Some say it's too bare-boned and nothing; the Jack Antonoff spread wearing thin after the producer explored similarly stripped-back sounds for Lana Del Rey, Taylor Swift, St Vincent and others within the last year alone. Others say it's her best work yet, and are happy to hear her move away from the gentle maximalism of Melodrama, the album that has soundtracked our years since its initial arrival.
So, how does Solar Power stack up to the rest? Well, it's pretty quintiessential Lorde, in that it's a song that's likely to grow better with more listens. Everyone remembers the whiplash when Melodrama was initially previewed with Green Light in its high-rising pop glory, and while Solar Power feels more Lorde-esque than Green Light, a lot of the initial reaction is founded solely off the fact that it's *different* - and that's something likely to fade away when you get used to the musician's new direction.
Similarly, it's very Lorde-esque in that there's more than what really meets the eye with Solar Power. On the surface level, it's pulled right back to its more bare-boned state, and because of that, it's quick to make the assumption that Solar Power is a boring song. But there are moments of brilliance nestled within the song: the George Michael-esque riffs; the production that sweeps in for its curtain call moment; the bright lyricism that reminds you of the comforting relatibility of Lorde's songwriting - it's all there.
Solar Power is different, but so was Green Light and so was Royals. It might take a while to get use to, but we're pretty positive that Lorde's new single is going to reach the heights of those that came before it, and we have no doubts that the entire record is going to be one hell of a time too.
Take a listen to the song below, via its official video clip: