This article is part of What Do You Mean?, a series where we dive into the analysis and associations of the important songs of today.
We’ve waited all four years for this day to come, but Lorde, documented onion ring lover and certified prettier Jesus has a new single out today (June 11th).
Earlier this week, the singer broke the internet with the song’s artwork, which she has described as being “about that infectious, flirtatious summer energy that takes hold of us all”. Sonically, the traces of George Michael’s ‘Freedom! 90’ in ‘Solar Power’ are hard to ignore. Structurally, Lorde strays away from the traditional verse-chorus-bridge pattern here, opting instead for a slow burn of verses that build towards the song’s explosive “solar-olar-olar power” outro. Indie pop artists Phoebe Bridgers and Clairo are also featured as backing vocals.
Now, let’s throw away our cellular devices and dive into the deeper meanings behind ‘Solar Power’.
It’s no surprise that nature features so heavily on the song. Lorde has revealed that both ‘Solar Power’ the song and the album were inspired by her trip to Antarctica in 2019. She has been vocal about taking action against climate change and ‘Solar Power’s lyrics like “Turn it on in a new kind of bright / It’s solar / Come on and let the bliss begin” show the healing power of nature. It’s no coincidence that she’s named the song after a natural source of energy that’s been touted as being gentler on the planet.
In both the Midsommar-themed music video and the ‘Solar Power’ artwork, Lorde dons a yellow outfit that’s emblematic of summer and the sun. Starkly contrasting the blues of the sombre ‘Melodrama’, we could hazard a guess that ‘Solar Power’ represents an inward, personal growth on Lorde’s part as well as she’s found herself at a place of true bliss. Lorde has also spoken about her synesthesia in the past, so the colours (acid green, aquamarine!) she uses are likely more than just for show.
A Prettier Jesus
“Come one, come all, I’ll tell you my secrets / I’m kinda like a prettier Jesus” is the winky face lyric that fans have co-opted as a highlight of ‘Solar Power’. While it might seem out-of-place at first, let’s not forget that Lorde’s stage name stems from ‘Lord’, which she felt too masculine-sounding, hence the additional ‘e’. And given that she leads an entire commune of people in the music video, those ‘Jesus’ comparisons and religious themes might run deeper than we think.
Into The Sun
This isn’t the first time that Lorde has mentioned the sun in her music. On 2017’s ‘Liability’, she ended the song with the macabre, Icarus-referencing “They’re gonna watch me disappear into the sun”. And the music video for ‘Perfect Places’ similarly featured scenes of Lorde on a beach, too. Where back then we left off with her wondering what “perfect places” were, with ‘Solar Power’, she’s finally found the answer.
Listen to ‘Solar Power’ and this week’s juiciest tunes on our New Music Friday playlist below: