By: Maura Bennett
“Cause all the music you loved at sixteen you’ll grow out of…”(Stoned at the Nail Salon). Even if the instrumental and stylistic simplicity can kind of be a drag of my enjoyment, Lorde’s new album features a tasteful sense of maturity that’s new for the songwriter to produce. That’s not to say that the stripped-back, folky direction was a bad decision, because it really wasn’t. It reflects the more optimistic outlook of this album in a pretty impactful way, and the airiness of such a soft sound can enhance the experience of this album.
However, it also prevents anything as stylistically distinct as Pure Heroine or anything as instrumentally innovative as Melodrama. There is a decent amount of intricacy in the subtle layers of instrumentation, and the psychedelic, electronic production that makes the sound stand out as more unique than your average folk-pop album. Still, it’s just not quite up to par with Lorde’s other work. Her lyricism however, is arguably better than ever. The maturity that Lorde has acquired since the release of Melodrama is more evident than ever in this record as she discusses her fame from a young age and the passed time. She also has a bit more variety in the tone with what she writes. The sad songs that she’s known for are offset by joyous celebrations like “The Path” and “Solar Power.” Her more pained, vulnerable side still appears in the dorm of tracks like “Stoned at the Nail Salon” and “Fallen Fruit.” Solar power as an album just isn’t as dense with those songs as her previous releases. I will say though, the maturity that sets this album apart from the rest of Lorde’s discography is exactly what prevents anything as insightfully relatable as “Liability.” I guess that could be a reflection of my immaturity, but I just get so much more out of the emotional potency of her other albums. Still, this album was easily enjoyable. It’s a fun listen that’s defined by mature lyricism and pleasant instrumentation, and I doubt any fans of Lorde will be disappointed here.