- Lorde dropped a new song titled “Solar Power” on June 10 after teasing her return earlier that week.
- It’s the lead single from her highly anticipated third album, also called “Solar Power.”
- The 12-track album will be released on August 20 and was inspired by “the natural world.”
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The new single, titled “Solar Power,” was surprise-released on June 10. She had teased the cover art on her website earlier that week, alongside the phrase, “Patience is a virtue.”
It’s the first taste of Lorde’s forthcoming third album. Here are all the details we have so far about her new era of music.
‘Solar Power’ is a beachy earworm, cowritten and coproduced by Lorde and Jack Antonoff
Antonoff is the most-trusted collaborator of both Lorde and her close friend, Taylor Swift. He executive produced “Melodrama” and cowrote nearly every song on the tracklist, save for “Homemade Dynamite.”
“Solar Power” is primarily driven by a choppy strumming pattern on acoustic guitar, vaguely reminiscent of “The Louvre,” the fourth track on “Melodrama.”
“I hate the winter / Can’t stand the cold / I tend to cancel all the plans,” she sings to open the song. “But when the heat comes / Something takes a hold / Can I kick it? Yeah, I can.”
Back in November 2020, Lorde told fans in an email, “The beginning of summer is my favorite time in New Zealand, and this year in particular it feels like a gift.”
The song is notably warmer and more stripped of theatricality than her previous releases. It’s probably safe to assume this reflects Lorde’s current musical direction. Her previous lead singles, “Royals” and “Green Light” – both of which landed in the top 25 of Insider’s best songs of the decade ranking – were sonically and thematically true to their parent albums.
A Jack Johnson-esque snare drum arrives in the second pre-chorus, while the chorus boasts triumphant melodies that recall George Michael’s “Freedom! ’90.”
In an interview with Zane Lowe, Lorde called Bridgers and Clairo her “god-tier female vocalists” and revealed “Solar Power” also includes vocals from a few male musicians from New Zealand.
“I just knew it had to be a gang,” she said. “This record, more than any that I’ve made, isn’t just about me. It’s my friends and my family and my country, and I knew the sentiments were not just mine alone to deliver… It’s fun not to be alone, finally.”
The song seems to contain a nod to her long-rumored boyfriend, which could mean a loved-up album is on the way
In the pre-chorus of “Solar Power,” Lorde sings, “No shirt, no shoes, only my features / My boy behind me, he’s taking pictures.”
The 24-year-old New Zealand native, whose real name is Ella Yelich-O’Connor, is reportedly dating Universal Music executive Justin Warren.
Warren, who is 17 years Lorde’s senior, denied relationship rumors when the pair were first seen in 2016. However, they’ve been photographed together several times over the past few years, most recently in October 2020, when they were spotted kissing in Auckland.
Lorde’s studio debut “Pure Heroine” deals largely with the fears and ecstasies of being a teenager; “Melodrama” was a pure breakup album, presumably inspired by her split from James Lowe in 2015.
With Lorde apparently in a long-term relationship, her third album could mark a major departure from the existential, daggered songwriting of her past.
The album is also called ‘Solar Power’ and will be released on August 20
Alongside the song’s release, Lorde sent an email to fans with the subject line, “Hey, cuties.”
“There’s someone I want you to meet,” she wrote. “Her feet are bare at all times. She’s sexy, playful, feral, and free. She’s a modern girl in a deadstock bikini, in touch with her past and her future, vibrating at the highest level when summer comes around. Her skin is glowing, her lovers are many. I’m completely obsessed with her, and soon you will be too.”
“It’s my divine pleasure to be introducing you, at long last, to my third studio album, SOLAR POWER.”
-Lorde Brasil ☀️ (@LordeBrasil) June 10, 2021
Lorde described the album as “a celebration of the natural world, an attempt at immortalizing the deep, transcendent feelings I have when I’m outdoors.”
She revealed that her “best mate,” Ophelia Mikkelson Jones, took the cover photo in a spontaneous moment of joy on the beach. The era’s music videos were all directed by Joel Kefali, who directed her “Royals” visual back in 2013.
Lorde also noted how the lead single was released on the same day as the year’s only solar eclipse, and told fans to “look to the natural calendar for clues” about the album.
“I want this album to be your summer companion, the one you pump on the drive to the beach. The one that lingers on your skin like a tan as the months get cooler again,” she wrote.
In a follow-up email on Monday, June 21 – the day of the Summer Solstice – Lorde announced that her new album will arrive on August 20.
“Solar Power” will include 12 songs and two bonus tracks. The titles indicate themes of natural beauty (“California,” “Oceanic Feeling”), surrealist storytelling (“Stoned at the Nail Salon,” “The Man With the Axe”), spirituality (“Big Star,” “Mood Ring”), and epic poetry (“Helen of Troy”).
The album was partially inspired by Lorde’s 2019 trip to Antarctica, but was postponed when her dog suddenly died
Lorde began working on new music about two years ago, after she returned from Antarctica in early 2019. She said the trip was galvanized by her increasing awareness of climate change and environmental responsibility.
“When I went to Antarctica, I hadn’t yet started writing again after finishing ‘Melodrama.’ I realized after the trip that what my brain had been craving was a visit to an alternate realm,” she wrote in an email to fans.
“Albums live in their own realms in a way, and Antarctica really acted as this great white palette cleanser, a sort of celestial foyer I had to move through in order to start making the next thing.”
-Lorde Daily (@LordeDaily) November 25, 2020
Shortly after she sent that email, Lorde told New Zealand’s Newshub that her experience directly inspired the title of her next album.
“I actually decided on the album name right around that trip,” she said. “Just coming back from that trip I thought, this is what it is.”
Lorde was accompanied by her friend Harriet Were, who photographed their journey on film. The shots were compiled into a photo book titled “Going South,” which was made available for purchase in limited quantities.
Recently, fans began to receive their pre-ordered copies, and some noticed a hidden message on the inside cover: “Blink three times when you feel it kicking in – 2021.” This has revealed itself to be a lyric from “Solar Power.”
-Lorde fix ????, soon to be solar powered (@Lorde_fix) June 10, 2021
In her email, Lorde described the book as “a sort of perfect precursor to this album in an abstract way,” so it’s safe to assume that a good chunk of it was written in the trip’s immediate aftermath.
However, she stopped making music in November 2019 when her beloved dog, Pearl, suddenly died. As she explained in another email, her grief impacted her vision for the album.
“I have lost my boy, and I need some time to see the good again, to finish making this for you,” she wrote. “It won’t be the same work – as anyone who has felt loss can understand, there’s a door that opens that you step through, and everything is different on the other side.”
Lorde later said she returned to the studio that December “just for something to do.”
“To my surprise, good things came out. Happy, playful things,” she wrote in a May 2020 email. “I felt my melodic muscles flexing and strengthening. Jack came over to work in the studio in Auckland, and I went to LA. It flowed. A thing started to take shape.”
She said they had continued to work remotely during the pandemic, adding, “The work is so f—ing good, my friend. I am truly jazzed for you to hear it.”