Why Lorde’s “Solar Power” is a revolutionary success



A scene of Lorde’s “Solar Power” music video released on June 10, 20201

As a largely celebrated and extremely talented musician, Lorde’s new album “Solar Power” might be her best one yet. The young singer is emotionally expressive, a superb dancer and not afraid to have fun during work. Even as a teenager, her albums were always unique and she was not afraid to add some of her own twists to the songs. Releasing another album at this time was highly unexpected from her, as she had not made public music since 2017. As spontaneous as this album is, it is a rare piece of work- and that is mainly due to Lorde’s use of the mixolydian scale. 

The mixolydian is a type of major scale which uses its leading tone to build tension. Its popularity was very high in the 1960s, as it was used in rock songs such as The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood.” However, it is rare that this type of scale is used in a modern pop album, which has now been revolutionized by the young singer Lorde. The singer used this scale in about half of her songs in the new album and also her debut ones. 

In 2013, Lorde released the song “Royals,” which became a smashing success as it hit the Hot 100. The song is sung in the key G major, but Lorde does not hesitate to sing most of the song with the D major scale. Mixing the two similar scales and singing them simultaneously is what creates the D mixolydian scale: the scale used to sing “Royals.” 

Lorde also sings with more tension and strength in the chorus than she does in her verses, while maintaining a softer tone. This is the main reason why she’s so celebrated: she’s unique. She has her own style which differs greatly from other pop stars like Dua Lipa and Justin Bieber. The fact that she used a 1960s style is also what makes this album an oddity. Most music in the 2020s is electronic and uses artificial intelligence. Although Lorde uses autotune to digitally impact her voice, the mixture of a scale from an older time makes “Solar Power” very different from other albums released in this generation. 

Lorde’s theme of this album is bitter, bereaved and serene. It doesn’t seem too different from other albums that have recently released, such as Billie Eilish’s “Happier than Ever,” Clairo’s “Sling” and Olivia Rodrigo’s “Sour.” However, Lorde’s album is different from the other recent albums because instead of being trapped inside the struggle, she is the one almost causing it for herself. In one of her more sentimental pieces, “Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen it all)”, she sings, “Dancing with my girls, only having two drinks, then leaving. It’s a funny thing, thought you’d never gain self control. At first, it seems as if she is singing about a breakup, especially with her line “you’d never gain self control.” However, at a closer look, it is obvious Lorde is talking about how she has no control over herself, and it becomes especially clear with the line, “growing up a little at a time then all at once.” Evidently,  Lorde is singing about how she does not want to grow up and how she feels afraid that she won’t be able to handle herself in the big world. After all, starting her career at 13 was hard for her and she doesn’t know how the music industry will treat her as she gets older. This message is extremely somber, and it shouldn’t be overlooked. Not only is this album an oddity; it is almost like Lorde is starting a revolution with it. Maybe she is trying to protest how she feels with the music industry. Maybe she is just expressing her feelings through her music as well. Whatever Lorde is trying to express through this album, anyone can guarantee that it is amazingly unique and prodigious. 

Overall, Lorde’s new album may be an oddity, but it is amazing. It expresses a great level of emotion that no other album this year has been able to compete with. Lorde’s use of a unique scale, the style of her voice, the message of the songs and even the music is incredible. It expresses a new style of music that hasn’t been heard in a while, and Lorde basically started a new style by combining that with modern music. It worked incredibly and managed to make the album a success. This young singer is extremely talented, and it seems like she will go a long way in the future.