Lorde has returned!
Four years after her incredible sophomore album, Melodrama, Lorde is finally back with some new music. On June 10, she officially released the first single off the project and promised a full album release sometime this year.
It seems the singer, who was born Ella Yelich-O’Connor in 1996, is doing a lot better since the breakup narrative that was her last project. Certain lines in “Solar Power” indicate she’s moved on to someone new. I’m desperate to hear the tea after hearing that quick little line, “My boy behind me, he’s taking pictures.”
Is this boy someone special? We’ll have to wait for the new album to find out!
In honor of Lorde’s long-anticipated third album, let’s take a look back at the music that led her up to this point.
Pure Heroine (2013)
Lorde was only 13 when she was first signed to Universal Music Group and started working with seasoned songwriters. Joel Little ended up being the artist that she clicked with the most, and together, they were able to develop her vision into a professional project.
Little was trained at the Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand, and he was the creative force behind the production, engineering, and instrumentals on Lorde’s first album. He has also worked closely on the production side for artists like Taylor Swift, Imagine Dragons, Sam Smith, Ellie Goulding, Shawn Mendes, Khalid, Marina Diamandis, and the Jonas Brothers.
Together, they produced Lorde’s critically-praised debut album, Pure Heroine, in 2013. The album was labeled as a blend of electronica, dream pop, and electropop, and many drew comparisons between the young Lorde and seasoned vets of the industry like Florence Welch and Lana Del Rey.
“Having the world weighing in on you from all sorts of different perspectives is intense, but the criticism I listen to most is what comes from people the same age as me. They’re the only people I care about liking my music,” Lorde told The Guardian in 2014. “One consistent thing is that if I like something and nobody likes it, I still like it. If I don’t like something and everyone loves it, I still hate it.” Now, that’s the attitude that makes her so special. Even at the age of 17, she was keenly perceptive and self-assured.
Pure Heroine was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 56th Grammy Awards. Some of the most memorable songs off this album include “Tennis Court,” “400 Lux,” and “Ribs.”
It should come as no surprise that Lorde made fans wait four years for Solar Power, as she did the exact same thing between Pure Heroine and Melodrama. After Lorde was thrust into the world of fame, glitz, and glamour after the success of her debut album, she disappeared from the spotlight for a few years. During this time, it’s reported that she was going through cycles of creative ebbs and flows. She would fly between her New Zealand home and the United States, where she spent time examining the world around her through the lens of her emotions.
The title of the album is “a nod to the types of emotions you experience when you’re 19 or 20,” the ever-so-self-aware Lorde told Vanity Fair during an interview. She also explained that this album was written in a period of solitude, during which Lorde was going through a rough breakup and the aftermath of moving out of her parents’ house. She was rather isolated and overwhelmed, and she channeled those emotions impeccably into the lyrics of her incredible sophomore album.
While Joel Little was the production genius behind Pure Heroine, Lorde chose Jack Antonoff of the indie-pop band Bleachers as her creative partner for Melodrama. Lorde reported that this choice was an attempt to expand her sound. Antonoff has won five Grammys in his career, and he’s collaborated with the likes of Taylor Swift, St. Vincent, Lana Del Rey, Troye Sivan, and Carly Rae Jepsen.
This was a fantastic step in the right direction, as the album went on to reach the top of the charts in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It received gold and platinum certifications in several countries, and it was featured on several year-end, best-of lists. It was also nominated for Album of the Year at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards. Not bad for a young singer who had not even reached her 20th birthday yet!
“It’s really a collection of moments, thoughts, and vignettes when I said to myself, Don’t forget this,” Lorde told Vanity Fair. And it wasn’t until I went through heartbreak, and moved out of [my parents’] home into my own house and spent a lot of time totally alone, that I realized I do have very serious, vivid feelings I needed to get out. Working with Jack Antonoff opened me up to feeling a lot; he was the perfect person to help me do that.”
Some of my favorite songs from Melodrama include “Green Light,” “The Louvre,” “Hard Feelings/Loveless,” and “Supercut.” It’s worth noting that despite Melodrama being critically acclaimed, it didn’t succeed commercially in the same way that Pure Heroine did. With the release of the third album being slated for 2021, we’ll soon know if this upcoming project will find the right balance of both critical and commercial success.
Solar Power (2021)
So, what can we expect from Lorde’s upcoming album, Solar Power? Well, it seems Lorde has found a creative partner for life in Jack Antonoff. She recruited him for her third album after the fantastic work he did on the second, making it likely that Solar Power will have a similar vibe to Melodrama, though it seems the concepts of the albums will be quite opposite. Melodrama was dark and moody in both its sound and its visuals, while Solar Power is being presented as bright, vibrant, and hopeful.
The music video for the lead single is light and bubbly. The song feels like a breath of relief after the chaos of Melodrama. Lorde is older and wiser, and she’s rocking that bright yellow skirt/crop top combo.
“A lot of people make pop music because it will make them rich,” she told Sam Lansky at Time after the release of Melodrama. “I make this music because I’m obsessed with it and I think it’s the best thing in the world…Part of me feels like everything I do from now on, if it’s not as big as ‘Royals,’ some people will perceive it as a failure. But for me, I’m going to spend my life worshipping the form. Sometimes that will just mean that it comes on at a party and everyone runs to the dance floor.”
I have little doubt Lorde’s third album will bring plenty more infectious top hits to our playlists. She has a knack for creating a uniquely honest type of pop music that’s fun to dance and sing along to, but also reflects the most vulnerable and interesting parts of humanity through the eyes of a young woman finding her way in the world.
It’s hard to believe she’s only 24, because that means her career is still just beginning. If her third album proves to be as solid as her first two, she may officially be this generation’s biggest pop prodigy.
Check out Lorde’s new song, “Solar Power,” now: