Solar Power by Lorde

2021

Everything is connected. In the Sixties, everything seemed to lead back to The Beatles. I wrote about this when describing the compilation “Separate Paths Together“. these days, everything leads back to Aaron Dessner or Jack Antonoff.

The concept of six degrees of separation suggests that we are all six, or fewer, social connections away from each other. The idea first appeared in a 1929 short story by Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy called “Everything Is Different”. He maintained that due to technological advances, larger population density and increased travel, the world was shrinking. The phrase “Six Degrees Of Separation” was (probably) first used in a 1990 play of the same name by American playwright, John Guare which was adapted into a film, starring Stockard Channing and Donald Sutherland.

Donald Sutherland started in a 2011 film called “Man On The Train” alongside U2’s drummer Larry Mullen Jnr. In 2000, U2 released an album called “All That You Can’t Leave Behind”, which was produced by Brian Eno, whose brother Roger is a friend of my friend Paddy. That’s six degrees of separation between John Guare and me.

One of the pleasures of the discussions that Peter and I have had since the pandemic started has been discovering the fantastic music made by some very popular female artists. A lot of them are connected through Jack Antonoff (of The Bleachers) and Aaron Dessner (of The National). These two have generally worked separately but did work together to produce albums by Taylor Swift. Here are some examples of the production and writing that these two prolific musicians have undertaken.

  • “Tramp” by Sharon Van Etten (2012). Produced by Aaron Dessner.
  • “1989” by Taylor Swift (2014). Co-produced by Jack Antonoff who has a writing credit on two songs.
  • “Bashed Out” by This Is The Kit (Kate Stables) (2015). Produced by Aaron Dessner.
  • “At Swim” by Lisa Hannigan (2016). Co-produced by Aaron Dessner who co-wrote three of the songs.
  • “Mass Education” by St. Vincent (Annie Clark) (2017). Co-produced by Jack Antonoff who has a writing credit on five songs.
  • “Reputation” by Taylor Swift (2017). Co-produced by Jack Antonoff who has a writing credit on six songs.
  • “Melodrama” by Lorde (Ella Yelich-O’Connor) (2017). Co-produced by Jack Antonoff who has a writing credit on ten songs.
  • “Norman Fucking Rockwell!” By Lana Del Rey (2019). Co-produced by Jack Antonoff who has a writing credit on nine songs.
  • “Lover” by Taylor Swift (2019). Co-produced by Jack Antonoff who has a writing credit on eight songs.
  • “Silences” by Adia Victoria (2019). Produced by Aaron Dessner.
  • “Folklore” by Taylor Swift (2020). Co-produced by Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner. Jack Antonoff has a writing credit on four songs. Aaron Dessner has a writing credit on nine songs.
  • “Evermore” by Taylor Swift (2020). Co-produced by Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner. Jack Antonoff has a writing credit on two songs. Aaron Dessner has a writing credit on eleven songs.
  • “Gaslighter” by The Chicks (formerly known as The Dixie Chicks) (2020). Co-produced by Jack Antonoff who has a writing credit on nine songs.
  • “Daddy’s Home” by St. Vincent (2021). Co-produced by Jack Antonoff who has a writing credit on five songs.
  • “Chemtrails Over The Country Club” by Lana Del Rey (2021). Co-produced by Jack Antonoff who has a writing credit on eight songs.
  • “Sling” by Clairo (Claire Cotterill) (2021). Co-produced by Jack Antonoff who has a writing credit on six songs.
  • “Sour” by Olivia Rodrigo (2021) includes two songs that “incorporate” two Taylor Swift songs that were co-written with Jack Antonoff.
  • “Solar Power” by Lorde (2021). Co-produced by Jack Antonoff who has a writing credit on eight songs.

Lorde is a singer songwriter from New Zealand whose full name is Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor. Her mother is a renowned poet. Lorde holds joint New Zealand and Croatian nationality due to her mother’s country of birth. After winning a talent show, aged 13, she received interest from the Universal Music Group and this eventually resulted in her releasing a number of singles and an album, “Pure Heroine”, in 2013 when she was 16 years old. Her second album, “Melodrama” was released in 2017 and “Solar Power” was released a few days ago.

The album is delightfully low key, quiet, reflective and, above all, summery. A perfect accompaniment to the hot balmy days of August. A shame the weather Gods couldn’t get their act together in Hassocks. The album is available on vinyl and by download but, due to environmental awareness, it hasn’t been produced on CD. It’s possible to pay £16 for a hard “Eco-Box” which contains a download code along with a poster, a 32 page booklet and 4 cards. I’m tempted.

The title track, “Solar Power”, is a lightweight happy song about taking pleasure from the sun and dreaming of throwing her phone into the water and thus removing herself from social media. In 2018, Lorde took herself off all social media and subsequently released lengthy email bulletins to any fans that signed up to receive them.

In 2013, “Royals”, a song from Lorde’s first album, won two Grammies for Song Of The Year and Best Pop Performance. The award was presented to Lorde by Carole King. The first verse of “California” describes what is was like to get these awards and to know that life would never be the same again. Musically, Lorde has said that she was influenced by the Californian vibe of The Mamas And Papas on this song.

“Stoned At The Nail Salon” features vocals that were recorded on the day the song was written. It also has extremely contentious lyrics which, if I were more curmudgeonly, I could take great offence at. “All the music you loved at sixteen, you’ll grow out of”. Really? The Moody Blues? Colosseum? Van der Graaf Generator? King Crimson? Come on! Get real.

“Mood Ring” is delightful and is written by someone who is very young. She comments that the early 2000s “seem so far away”. For someone born in 1997, the early 2000s were 83% of her life away. For me, they were 31% of my life away, so quite recently, really. Another difference between Lorde and me (and there a few differences) is that she needs a mood ring to let her know what mood she is in, whereas all I have to do is to wake up to know I’m in a grumpy mood. Nevertheless, the music is very enjoyable.

The last track on the album, “Oceanic Feeling”, is nearly seven minutes long. It’s another song that describes a difference between Lorde and me, should anyone be confused. She wakes up and considers what she could do during the day. Maybe she could jump off Bulli Point, a 7 metre rock jumping point in New Zealand? Maybe she could go fishing? Or the beach? The weather is blissful. She has a deep connection with the land. She hopes, one day, to have a daughter. What will she be like? Her brother, despite a recent car accident is going to be okay. “Every day is blue and never cloudy. Don’t look down. I can make anything real”.

Published by wilfulsprinter

Music lover

2 thoughts on “Solar Power by Lorde

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