by Keith Ayuman // Art by Ginoe
The days have gone dull, the term “live while you are young” is slowly turning into a murky concept, and being able to head to the beach in a snap is a privilege unspoken. We are not the same when the pandemic began. All of us are turning into one girl swaying alone stroking her cheek. On the 11th of June, Lorde released the debut single off her album with the same name, “Solar Power”. The song did not capture what most listeners were expecting of the pop star. Instead of the overblown yet well-grounded production of the confessional Melodrama and the synth bass-driven and melodious Pure Heroine, what we received instead is the warm tone and the palm muted strum of the acoustic guitar carefully guiding us to the climactic outro. The song ends in a sudden halt and it marks Lorde entering a new era.
The album is filled with diary-like songwriting of an already adult Ella
Following Melodrama is an impossible task but Lorde knew better. A year can change a person and certainly, Lorde being offline and out of touch for four years changed her. After emerging from the shadows in May of this year, some fans were excited to hear a new Lorde music and most are unsure what to expect from what her new sound is like. Instead of a making a sequel to her past works, she headed in the opposite direction.
On the 20th of August, Lorde presented to us a work that imitates the feeling you get when the warm rays of the sun meet the shoreline while you allow the waves of the ocean to carry you away in her new album, Solar Power.
Lorde wasn’t aiming to be the summer soundtrack in this new album. There are barely any themes of escapism in this new album. Instead, the album is filled with diary-like songwriting of an already adult Ella. From the album opener “The Path”, a song that grounds the listener what she envisions of Lorde, to the welcoming feel and summer vibe of “Solar Power” and the feel-good sequel of Ribs, “Secrets of a Girl (Who’s Seen It All)”.
Solar Power is bombarded with melodies reminiscent of a pat in the back. Album favorites: “California”, “Fallen Fruit”, “Dominoes”, and “Stoned at The Nail Salon”, caught me off guard by how they add richness to the album. Least favorite tracks: “The Man with the Axe” and “Leader of a New Regime”, drags a bit but doesn’t risk the album as a whole. “Big Star”, “Mood Ring”, and “Oceanic Feeling” (a tribute song she wrote for her friends and New Zealand) are some of the most personal songwriting we would read from Ella, paired with Jack Antonoff’s delicate production, and what I’d consider as the highlights of the album.
Solar Power is not for everyone. If you wanted another Pure Heroine and Melodrama from Lorde then I’m sorry to tell you that this album won’t work with you. Solar Power is a melodic trip with an atmosphere that works better if you are alone. It did not derive from Ella’s creativity, if I may add, nor did it not hint at growth from her sound. It is safe to say that Lorde might be one of the few pop stars willing to strip off her ego, music style, and jeopardize the myth surrounding her for her album. This is not the broken-hearted Ella, nor the young teenager who suddenly boomed after her first hit.
Solar Power is not for everyone.
No, the album is the grown-up Ella telling everyone that she is more than her stage name and that everything will be okay.
Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, photographer, writer, and filmmaker, Keith Human (Keith Raymier G. Ayuman) has released some of his work across the internet and is still doing so. Born from a strict Catholic family, he aspires to derive away from the whole cycle he had witnessed by being an artist. Keith recently joined Melt Records.
Excited about Lorde’s new album? We are too. Our friend Ginoe recently dropped his Bootleg Fanmade Solar Power merch and we are in love the designs! Ginoe is making a print set with stickers, postcards, and a poster.
Here are the details:
If you want to make an order you can slide in those DMs @soubineer on Instagram. Ginoe makes tons of other strange and beautiful stuff, too. We are big fans of his works! Follow him on Twitter, @hubineer.