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Album Review: Solar Power by Lorde

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Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor, or better known by her stage name, Lorde, is a singer and songwriter from New Zealand. Lorde dropped an EP in 2011, and the single from it, Royals, would launch her career into commercial success. From that quick rise to fame, she was able to create a few albums and is now on her third studio album, Solar Power.

The first track from the album is The Path. While the track starts out quiet and slow, it does bring in some guitars that are repeating arpeggios throughout the track. While it is different than some of her more 'pop' sounding tracks, this is a great opening to the album, especially with what is going to come for the rest of the project. The track also opens up more into a catchy chorus with several layers of her vocals added on top. The chorus basically talks about not being a leader or 'savior' since she's broken and sad like other people.

Solar Power was the leading single and title track for this project. I didn't really listen to it much before the release, but this is how I found out that Jack Antonoff was going to produce this album, and I can definitely see the influence on here. It definitely has a similar pattern as the first track since it starts out quiet with minimal instrumentation, then it really starts to open up towards the end of the track with the loud vocals and other instrumentals added.
 
After that, we get a track titled California. Again, we get some light instrumentation since we only get a piano, some strings, and quiet percussive beats. The track is a bit strange since her vocals contradict each other. You got the quieter and lower vocals for the verses, and then her high pitched vocals during the chorus of the track. While Lorde has mentioned that she likes some places in California, she said it's not the right time for her to be in California.
 
Stoned at the Nail Salon was another promotional single for this project, but I didn't really get the chance to listen to it until this project came out. Just like most of the other tracks so far, we are having some similar instrumentation with different string instruments and Lorde's various layers of vocals. On this track, she talks about how this track was made shortly after Melodrama and how she talks about her life being low-key and enjoying the little things.

Fallen Fruit is probably the most minimalist track when it comes to instrumentation, at least in the first minute of the track. You can barely hear the strings, which again, have been using a similar key and arpeggios. The strings slowly start to become louder, but it's nothing major until about the halfway mark. The true sound comes from the different layers of vocals that she added on. Lyrically, Lorde talks about climate change and how people have left us with a polluted planet.

Secrets from a Girl (Who's Seen it All) starts to liven up the album again. While the guitars at the beginning didn't really give me much home, it quickly changed after the first few seconds of the track. The inflection in her vocals and the louder and faster guitar parts definitely add to the energy that we haven't seen much from the project. As Lorde has said, this track is a message to her younger self letting her know everything is going to be okay.

The Man with the Axe starts to slow down and mellow out the album again. It opens up with a very quiet and slow acoustic guitar line with Lorde's soft vocals. A few other strings and piano eventually come in and join as the track progresses. We also get some crowd noises for a brief second during the second verse. Other than that, Lorde talks about how she wrote this track as a poem and thinks of it as a private track for her.

After the last track, we have a quick two-minute track titled Dominoes. The track opens up with a siren sound from the outside which throws me off for a bit. Other than that, the track sounds a bit happier in tone with the softer and upbeat guitar parts and her vocals. I guess I was expecting a bit more from Lorde at this point in the album, but she's sticking with the same theme across the entire project. Through the lyrics, she talks about how this one person gets several chances to start over again, but they don't take advantage of the opportunity.

Instead of an acoustic guitar, Big Star opens up with a running and consistent bass line. Eventually, it gets louder as the guitar parts start to make their way in as well. Throughout the entire track though, I just feel like Lorde's vocals just sound the same and she doesn't switch it up that often. Lyrically, she talks about her dog that passed away in 2019, Pearl. She Lorde basically explains how this dog meant everything to her.

Leader of a New Regime marks the shortest track of the album, just over one and a half minutes in length. Before going into the track, I wasn't sure if I was going to get an interlude or what she had planned for this short track towards the end. I was expecting a huge instrument breakout going into the second verse, but I guess that quickly died down, so I was not amused by the short interlude track on this project. 

Unlike some of the other tracks, Mood Ring opens up with a chorus of Lorde's vocals. Eventually the chorus subsides and we get more acoustic instrumentals to carry the track. We still get some vocal harmonies that come and go throughout the track though. As Lorde sings throughout this track, she talks about how people are trying to look at the world around them to tell them how and what to be feeling.

We finally come to the final track on the album, Oceanic Feeling, which is also the longest track on the album since it clocks in over six and a half minutes in length. It opens up with a droning synth line and Lorde's vocals. It doesn't really change up throughout the track, and even Lorde acknowledges only really switching between two chords. I enjoy the laid back vibe, but I keep on expecting a larger build up for the end of the album.

Overall Rating: 6/10
Favorite Tracks: The Path, Solar Power, Secrets from a Girl (Who's Seen it All)
 
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