New Zealand singer and songwriter Lorde is back four years since her last album, Melodrama (2017). Poignantly released on the day of a solar eclipse, her new track is titled “Solar Power” (2021). Even if it might be Lorde’s happiest song to date, for the most part, the track is not as vibrant as the name suggests. And that’s exactly why it’s perfect.
Written and produced by Lorde and Jack Antonoff — a partnership that dates back to Melodrama — the track bets on the chord progression of George Michael’s “Freedom! ’90” to support its “It’s finally summer”-themed lyrics. The track starts with up-close, obscure vocals in the style of Tori Amos and Fiona Apple, to which singers Clairo and Phoebe Bridgers contribute with background vocals. If these aren’t enough 1990s pop references, Lorde also echoes A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It?” from 1990 in the lyrics. The combination of all these harmonies is seductive; it sounds fresh but nostalgic at the same time.
As the track is close to an end, it flows towards a vibrant bridge, with the coming of drums and higher key vocals chanting the song’s title. It’s the perfect summer track for a year that is still weird in so many ways. It’s also a win for 1990s kids, alt-rock fans, but above all, for the Lorde fans. They waited for a long time, and it’s safe to say they won’t be disappointed with “Solar Power”.