[The Atlantic: Solar Power is a rock nostalgist’s dream]
As Lorde’s “Solar Power” meditates on the tension between achievement and comfort, it grazes masterpiece status. @skornhaber reviews the pop star’s long-awaited, surprisingly upbeat new album:https://t.co/LQVG21g6Ab— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) August 19, 2021
- Like a lot of the other recent pop albums produced by Jack Antonoff, Solar Power is a rock nostalgist’s dream. It emphasizes how psychedelia has evolved over the decades: A Laurel Canyon quaver, a progressive-metal melody, and a Zero 7 sound effect might all brighten a single song. Lorde’s writing and rasp keep the trip engaging, usually.
- Lorde’s prioritization of private pleasure over the duties of pop stardom helps explain the parts of Solar Power that don’t wow: a clutch of ballads written with such memoirist precision, and such disinterest in big catharsis, that they may exist more for her sake than the listener’s. Yet even the duller fare makes a point.
[The Cut: what makes Solar Power so lovable is that it’s deeply uncool]
Fans had built an idea of what they wanted from Lorde — essentially, a repeat of her last album — that was impossible to reach, so she just didn’t. Good for her! @marianne_eloise reviews https://t.co/7FMA0RqL6j— The Cut (@TheCut) August 19, 2021
Favourable!: Ultimately, what makes Solar Power so lovable is that it’s deeply uncool. Anyone who was waiting four years for Melodrama 2.0 might be disappointed — Solar Power is Ella’s album! It doesn’t belong to you! But if you’re willing, you can follow Lorde and let go of your worldly desires and expectations, slip off your clothes, and sink into the ocean or the forest, letting Solar Power lead you into a future less dictated by phones and schedules.
[Entertainment Weekly: there’s a subdued quality to Solar Power that feels a lot like caution]
B grade: Maybe the singer, whipsawed by nearly a decade in the public eye and never quite convinced that the trade-offs justify the losses, is ready to cede some of her spotlight to the next wave. There's a subdued quality to Solar Power that feels a lot like caution, or just self-protection — a deliberate retreat from the raw, unfiltered verve of her earlier output into the safer remove of a wry bystander more at ease with cool observation than confessional bloodletting.
[Independent: Lorde just wafts over her pretty, pastichey soundscape without really connecting]
Lorde’s Solar Power is disappointing, detached and sun-bleached of melody – review https://t.co/nvJp33E5oU— Independent Arts (@IndyArts) August 19, 2021
2/5 stars: Alas, I’ve had this collection of heat haze hippy noodlings on repeat for a couple of days now, and I’m still waiting for the promised sonic high. In fact, I’m still waiting for more than a couple of discernible songs.
[The Skinny: the lack of structure to Solar Power’s songs is startling]
3/5 stars: A cursory listen is enough to confirm that in a musical sense – it’s soft, woozy, melodically loose. Further investigation reveals that this approach seems to have spread to every aspect of Lorde's songwriting. Where Melodrama was razor-sharp in the universally relatable picture it painted of late adolescence, Solar Power drifts to a place altogether more impressionistic.
[Slant: the results are as immersive as an ayahuasca ceremony]
On SOLAR POWER, Lorde presents herself as a pop star in exile, one who’s rejected fame and all of its material trappings. Read our review. https://t.co/KqupFFMIMV— Slant (@Slant_Magazine) August 19, 2021
3.5/5 stars: On the whole, the 12 songs here are quieter, more meditative, and more grown-up than Lorde’s past efforts. But while Solar Power doesn’t traffic in the booming emotional catharsis of Melodrama, it doesn’t succumb to navel-gazing solipsism either. The mesmerizing opening track, “The Path,” makes for an exhilarating thesis statement: “If you’re looking for a savior, well, that’s not me.”
[SPIN: It’s a record for sleepy vacation days and late-summer pool hangs where everyone’s dressed like an extra from Clueless]
Mixed, leaning unfavourable: There’s just very little magic here. The album lilts and meanders across 12 tracks, wholly avoiding the incendiary electronic percussion of past releases — a growing trend for the album’s producer Jack Antonoff, whose most recent works with Lana Del Rey, St. Vincent and Clairo (who sings backgrounds on several songs, as does Phoebe Bridgers) are similarly subdued and analog.
[Stereogum: Solar Power isn’t necessarily a bad hang if you approach it as background music]
Mixed: I want Solar Power to be a little messier. It would have made for a more interesting album. Lorde has always seemed so perceptive, but Solar Power‘s message and overall sound are muddy without that deeper engagement. It arrives with a resounding shrug. I guess that’s the pitfall of making an album that is so even-keeled.
Solar Power releases tomorrow and currently sits at 67 (ranked as "favourable") on Metacritic.
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It doesn't sound bad, just chill summer vibes and certainly not Melodrama 2.0, so