After almost four years of near radio silence, singer-songwriter Lorde has announced her third album, Solar Power.
The 24-year-old from New Zealand quickly rose to fame after her first album, Pure Heroine, dropped in 2013, and she’s been a household name ever since. Her unconventional style and wistful, poignant lyrics have left her fans patiently waiting for more, especially after the album was shamelessly teased on Lorde’s website.
In her recent newsletter, Lorde seemed just as excited for the album as everyone else, describing it as one would their best friend: “There’s someone I want you to meet. 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.”
On June 10, a single from the album, also titled “Solar Power,” dropped unexpectedly. Long-time fans and music lovers alike jumped at the release, and the song’s music video boasts nearly 17 million views in less than a month.
Lorde’s hiatus allowed her to come back bigger and brighter than ever—quite literally, as in the video she shines in yellow and skips along a sunny beach. The song is a far cry from many of her more famous hits, which tend to explore the darker edges of pop. “’Solar Power’ is a fresh chapter in a riveting book,” billboard says in their review, “and Lorde fans should be thrilled to meet this new author.”
However, the question has to be asked: is this “new author” too new and bright and fresh? Lorde’s unique take on pop back in 2013 is not so unique anymore, with newer artists such as Billie Eilish taking up the road paved by the artist in her absence. “Solar Power” runs the risk of being too little too late. It “has good heart and good taste,” critiques Vulture. “It’s slight and fun but almost feels more like a carefree vacation update than the blockbuster comeback we’ve been anticipating since the simpler times.” With the release day still up in the air, only time will tell if Solar Power will be the comeback Lorde—and her faithful following—needs.
One thing is for sure, though: Lorde is back, and she’s making sure everyone knows it.