Secrets from a girl (in her new album)

A garden-turned-roller rink opens up in Palos Verdes



Lorde’s long-awaited third album is here. The New Zealand native’s latest release, “Solar Power,” is one fans have been begging for. She has kept “Pure Heroine” and “Melodrama” lovers on the edge of their seats as she took a four-year hiatus from releasing and touring to focus on her mental health. As a proud Lorde fan, I can say that although the wait was long, the results were absolutely impeccable. 

Although the album cover suggests lightheartedness and happy-go-lucky music, “Solar Power” is anything but (this is Lorde after all). “Solar Power” is an anthem for the end of summer, when it finally hits that your opportunity for flings, freedom and late nights that blend into morning sunrises have come to an end; it’s an ode to melancholia and well-wishing nostalgia. 

Before I continue praising Lorde’s genius and ability to capture feelings and specific moments in a music score and lyrics, I must confess that I was—gasp—disappointed the first time I listened to this album. I thought all the songs sounded the same and the finished piece was sub-par compared to the hype surrounding it… as a Lorde fan, this was hard to admit to myself. However, as I listen to the album over and over, my opinion changes and now you can find me singing Solar Power’s praises from the rooftops.  

What I love about Lorde is how she writes such poetic prose and lyrics that she can literally make you feel whatever she is feeling, and usually, you can connect with it. She utilizes her lyrical genius to capture feelings of reminiscence, wistfulness and what I imagine a lazy summer day spent eating warm peaches and cold lemonade to feel like. Inspired by nature, this album definitely elicits wistfulness and maudlin thoughts. 

Sometimes it felt like the obscureness and murky noises in the background of songs make the listener lose sight of Lorde’s lyrics, but that just means that every time you relisten, you notice something different. Noting this, I do not think “Solar Power” offers the same level of diversity in sounds as “Melodrama,” which will always remain my favorite. 

It is incredibly hard to rank the songs on “Solar Power,” and my choices are incredibly individualized and biased. In my opinion, music is personal—you either connect with a song or you don’t, and because everyone has different experiences, it definitely varies. I really connected with the sadness of this album and Lorde’s messages of self-doubt, fear, regret, and the feeling of what to do when everything seems to be falling apart. Yet, her metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel depicted in several of these songs, such as “Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen it All)” was also something I appreciated and related to. 

Recognizing this, I do want to note my top songs because if you’re not going to listen to the whole album, you should listen to these. 

My top three songs are “Fallen Fruit,” “California” and of course, “Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen it All).” The first song discusses the climate crisis we are facing, with intricacies and references to the modern world that convey a dominant call to action. When I first listened to this song, I was entranced by the choir-type intro and felt a flash of deja vu from choir day at my church. In a sense, this song is worship; Lorde is praising the earth and all it does for us, and the sadness that comes with the knowledge that we are steadily killing it. These notes of wistfulness and worship definitely make it an interesting listen. 

“California” is another critique of society, in which Lorde notes how ingenuine life as a celebrity is. “California” is an ode to Lorde’s past life when she was caught up in the glitz and glamour of being newly famous; when people were infatuated with her love life and talent. The beauty of fame disintegrated into heartbreak and sickness when Lorde realized that the life everyone thinks they want is riddled with lies and pain. 

“Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen it All)” is a response to one of my all-time favorite Lorde songs, “Ribs.” “Ribs” follows the seemingly inevitable story of a girl falling for her best friend and the undeniable sadness that comes from unrequited love; following this, “Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen it All)” is like a love letter to past Lorde, assuring her that everything is going to be okay and life will work out the way it’s supposed to. Lorde starts the song recognizing how she’s changed and grown as an individual, noting how “It’s a funny thing, thought [she’d] never gain self-control.” The song is incredibly unique, something that can be seen at the end when a fake airline attendant assures the listener that strangeness is acceptable and emotions are strong, but they will eventually mellow out. 

My favorite part about “Solar Power” is how each song has a similar vibe but is completely unique in storytelling. Listening to this album feels like walking into the travel book store in “Notting Hill”—yes, they’re all travel books, but they’re all about different places and adventures.