Being a Lorde fan has been pretty intense over the past couple weeks. If you’ve tuned in, you already know—but to many casual listeners or non-Reddit users, you may not be aware of the rumors that have been swirling around the internet—I’ve only been aware of them for two weeks or so. Essentially since the start of June, many “insiders” have been sharing hints at the possibility of Lorde releasing a new single ahead of an album announcement. This also coincided with Lorde’s book being sent out to fans who pre-ordered it, set to be released on June 4.
9PM on the West Coast came and went on June 3, and no music was released, no Instagram posts promoting something new, no Easter Eggs, nothing. But just a few days later on that following Monday, alleged single artwork popped up on the internet on top of the new music rumors: a very cheeky photo of Lorde seemingly on the beach with the words “Solar Power” typed out in bright yellow.
The photo eventually got scrubbed off every corner of the internet, leading Lorde (or probably her team) to posting the photo itself on Lorde’s website, with what can be assumed (they are confirmed now) to be lyrics on the bottom of the site: “Blink 3 times when you feel it kicking in,” literally hours later. Hot Lorde Summer had arrived.
The rest of the rumors quieted down after Lorde’s team posted that photo on the website, but only for about 24 hours. On Wednesday, June 9, ANOTHER leaked piece of content began floating around the internet: a snippet of a song. This only meant one thing: the rumors were true, and something had to be coming soon.
Here we are, Thursday, June 10. I wake up to news that the team has decided to release the song early amidst the album artwork leaking, the snippets leaking, etc—rumored to be dropping Thursday evening. Maybe an hour or so later, the song completely leaked. After reading through some Reddit threads, it turns out that YouTube Music, Tidal, Apple Music and possibly other streaming sites had released the song ahead of time (by mistake), eventually taking them down off the platform entirely. Unfortunately for Lorde (but not so much for fans), many people had already ripped the audio, uploading it to random hosting sites and sharing it for anyone who could get their hands on a link.
As I was typing this article, Lorde announced that her album is titled Solar Power, with no release date, but the song was officially out and a music video came along with it. The announcement came in an email Lorde sent out to her fans—the primary way that she has been communicating with them for the past several years.
The song—while melodically and lyrically quite similar to what Lorde has released in the past, it’s a much more understated song when it comes to production—not to say underdeveloped, but a much more mellow take that we haven’t seen from Lorde yet, VERY similar to the sounds we heard on St. Vincent’s latest album, Daddy’s Home, an album also produced by Jack Antonoff (“Solar Power” credits Antonoff, the rest of the album’s production credits have not been announced). It’s also pretty CRUCIAL to share that the track features backup vocals from Phoebe Bridgers AND Clairo. Wild, right?
The laid back feel of the song matches the lyrics: one where Lorde paints a picture of a day spent lazily enjoying the beach with a lover (she references one as “my boy”), a love song dedicated to the hypnotic feeling of a hot day—the weather that Lorde admits to preferring over the cold winters, a season where she tends to cancel her plans. In the video, she flutters around a beach in a bright yellow outfit as others (in neutral colors, of course) dance around her: a world in which Lorde is the cult leader and we’re all along for the ride.
“Solar Power” is an anthem for the ages, one that we’ll blast at our backyard hangs, dinner parties with friends, and when we’re getting ready: the realization washing over us that just maybe, things can be like they once were. While there are rumors that Lorde was planning to drop this around the time of a solar eclipse, and she references the album’s inspiration as “a celebration of the natural world, an attempt at immortalising the deep, transcendent feelings I have when I’m outdoors,” it’s uncanny that she released it (whether unintentionally or not) just at the exact moment, almost down to the day, where many major US cities are opening back up at large capacities, a sign that the worldwide, year plus long pandemic MAY be coming to a close (slowly, but surely).
With so much of L3 completely unknown, there is one thing to be true: “Solar Power,” though still sonically similar to the music of Lorde’s past, is a new direction for the artist, who’s last album, Melodrama, is over four years old at this point. An artist who has been entirely absent during the rise of so many genre-adjacent artists (Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo) has a lot to prove with this new album, even if she doesn’t care about proving anything to anyone. Thanks to artists like Lorde, those names I just mentioned have been able to create careers for themselves without having to conform to the traditional standards of pop music that were once held by artists like Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, or even (arguably) Taylor Swift—not only in terms of what the music sounds like, but what they look like and/or portray themselves to be.
Lorde hasn’t released any news on when Solar Power is set to release, but we’re predicting it’ll come sometime this summer. And we can’t wait to see “I’m kinda like a prettier Jesus” make everyone’s Instagram captions.
Stream “Solar Power” on your preferred platform here.