Lorde’s New Album Is Making Everyone Feel Old

Photo: Arturo Holmes/Getty Images.
Kind of like a prettier Jesus, Lorde has risen. Four years after releasing the critically acclaimed Melodrama, the singer has returned — not with divine power, but one more environmentally friendly: Solar Power. And if you thought the title track was a woo-woo fever dream, then the rest of the album would like you to hold its beer coconut water.
Just like as the first few peeks of this new era of Lorde — "Solar Power," "Stoned At The Nail Salon," and "Mood Ring" — promised, gone are the days of cherry-black lipstick and tight pop production. Solar Power is the New Zealand-born singer at both her most relaxed and reflective, as she details the suffocating grip fame had on her as a teenager, as well as the new fears she faces (climate change, the future, growing up) as she enters adulthood.
The New Lorde is, however, not everyone's brand of kombucha. Much of Lorde's most poignant lyrics and heartfelt messages are lost in Solar Power's sonic looseness and dull edges. There's a lack of energy. Out of the album's 12 tracks, there doesn't seen to yet be a clear, immediate banger that has grabbed listeners by the collar, like "Green Light" did on her previous full-length. In fact, most of the reception on social media has been polarised, and at worst, lukewarm.
But what a lot of listeners can agree on is that Lorde is currently making people realise how much time has passed since she first came barrelling onto the scene in 2013 with her breakout hit "Royals," followed by Pure Heroine, when she was just 16-years-old.
In "Secrets From A Girl (Who’s Seen It All), Lorde sings, “Couldn't wait to turn 15/ then you blink and it's been 10 years.” It's been how long? And if Lorde feels old, what does that mean for the rest of us?
Maybe it's the album's soft rock, easy listening of the early 2000s (Jack Johnson, Jewel); or the crystal holding, Mane & Tail-using wellness trend-obsessed energy. Maybe it's her fixation on the past — which even includes a recording of Carole King announcing her 2014 Grammy win for “Royals” — that evokes nostalgia and wistfulness. In a time when being cooped up is the norm, Lorde's space and freedom feels of a different time.
Maybe we've all taken too many hits of the ol' fennel bong, but a lot of people are kind of spiraling (present company included).
Another thing many fans can agree on: No matter the iteration good to have Lorde back, and we look forward to growing old together.

More from Music

R29 Original Series