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The Earliest Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 8-20-21 -8-26-2, Lorde’s “Solar Power” Reviewed

Lorde sunny and alabaster

So here is album # 3, a SoCal summer album with California replacing New Zealand and Lorde, another girl who was once the voice of a strata of her audience (her peers: teen girls) and grew up and away starting with 2017’s goodie Melodrama and now, the released today Solar Power. Solar Power isn’t bad and “Solar Power” is great, but it is a low impact set of acoustic sounding, Lilith Fair made for a collective freedom of expression as a twenty something delves into the joy of summer, and of New Zealand. If Pure Heroine was teen angst in excelsior, and Melodrama a quietly dramatic set of break up but don’t break down, Solar Power is a beach shindig commune with nature. The ubiquitous Jack Antonoff produced again and while the honesty loves company world of sun and nature vibe is at least interesting, it is also at worse a complete snooze.

Once you get past the title track, too much of it is a disciplined meander, and for every “Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen it All)” there is two “Stoned at the Nail Salon” – an Americana folkiness more worthy of a Jenny Lewis (who would have toughened her up). Too much of the album is songs that not only won’t but also are unwilling to be thrilling: after passing straight througe sophomore slump, she slumps anyway the third time round.

The thing about pop is that it works from conflict and not from joy, yes, it is nice to have Carole King hand you a grammy and yet it is also as insulated as Juice WRLD and Lil Peeps, nobody is invited in because nobody is getting a Grammy. The song for her dead doggy, “Big Star” is lovely and delicate and yet bland in its sorrow.

The urge is to leave Lorde alone with good and slow vibes, with her harmonies (from Lorde? Why?) on her summer charms not keeping Brian Wilson up at night, with her publicity blitz on an album recorded to be forgotten before the month is out. Summer’s almost gone…

Grade: B-

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