Not that I’m religious, but Lorde, I love you. But objective lens on, let’s go: Solar Power is at a deficit next to Melodrama. As much as I want to praise the 2021 album, it’s hard to admit that Lorde peaked when Melodrama came out. The poetry, artifice, aesthetic, and specific sound of Melodrama was a sum in its essence: nothing to add, nothing to take out. But understandably, it’s unfair to review an album dependent on the last one, thus, Solar Power isn’t a detriment.
Lorde released it knowing it was coloured gold (in relation to her synesthesia), and that it’s as bright as an Auckland summer… and truly it is! Sonically, Solar Power is perfectly ordered from “The Path” to “Oceanic Feeling”; one can really spot the production difference. It draws a more organic form of music making, with identifiable uses of instruments.
“Mood Ring” is an interesting satire about how white women perpetuate a false deconstruction of wellness culture. Lorde’s writing continues to impress… “California” has its flaws, but there are lovely moments: ‘Now I’ve spent thousands on you, darling/…And I’d pay it all again to have your golden body back in my bed/ But I don’t miss the poison arrows aimed directly at my head’. Just proper. It’s that yearning that Lorde has perfected and exemplified in “Stoned At The Nail Salon” and “Secrets From A Girl (Who’s Seen It All)”, and that’s why they’re the best tracks. So, I wouldn’t say that Solar Power exists in succession to Melodrama, but rather adjacently. The album encapsulates this tiny space of liminality, between grief and assent.
“*Chef’s kiss* Solar Power is her own being HMPH! But I love Melodrama more, sorry!!”