It's been four summers since the release of Lorde's 2017 album Melodrama, and although its release into the world involved a minor hiccup, the singer-songwriter has returned with the confident, sunny single, "Solar Power." Accompanied by a music video Lorde co-directed with Joel Kefali — in which she appears centered in bright yellow, surrounded by acolytes dressed in earth tones, scattered on a beach — it's the first single from what she confirmed today in a newsletter to fans will be her new album, also called Solar Power.
The song inadvertently made its way onto streaming services ahead of schedule earlier today, but was pulled and posted on official platforms this evening. While a release date for the record has yet to be announced, the title track includes familiar collaborators — Jack Antonoff co-writes and co-produces — along with a pair of backing vocalists — Phoebe Bridgers and Clairo — whose careers have taken flight since Lorde released her last album in 2017.
In place of Melodrama's reckless, love-drunk, city escapism, "Solar Power" celebrates sand, saltwater and "a new state of mind." For listeners tuning in during the waning days of the Covid-19 pandemic, Lorde seems to be writing to us from New Zealand's January summer, the host of a gathering that feels either years behind — or ahead — of the gloomy lockdown we've been living through. Swept by the track's skittish guitar and Lorde's nimble voice speaking glowing affirmations, it's difficult not to follow along when she murmurs, "Are you coming, my baby?"