Review: “Te Ao Mārama” and “Solar Power” by Lorde

Gracie Warda ‘24 / Emertainment Monthly Music Section Editor

After a several-year hiatus from releasing music following her last album, Melodrama, in 2017, Lorde has impressed fans by releasing one album and a related EP in the last month. Solar Power was released on August 20, followed by Te Ao Mārama on September 9, which is a collection of five reprised (non-english) songs from Solar Power. 

Te Ao Mārama contains five songs that also appear in Solar Power, sung in the te reo Māori language. Lorde, a New Zealand artist, wanted to promote the language and culture of the indigenous Māori people, despite not knowing the language herself. Te Ao Mārama is a homage to Lorde’s roots, and contains beautiful music even for those who don’t know the language.

Our first track is called The Path, which plays with Lorde’s higher register. This song feels light and euphoric, nearly blending with Phoebe Bridgers or even Birdy. Despite these angelic notes, the song picks up a catchy drum beat about halfway through, which just highlights the beauty of the melody even more. 

Up next in the queue is Solar Power, the shining star of these albums. Listeners get a sense of Lorde’s spoken song style, paired with the same high notes from The Path. The smooth harmonies against the guitar in this song is beyond catchy, still giving me Phoebe Bridgers vibes, but Lorde makes her own unique style with this song. 

After that we have Stoned at the Nail Salon, a floaty sort of song that shows off Lorde’s impressive vocal range. I can see fans of Taylor Swift gravitating towards this song, myself included. While most of the songs on this album have the energy of the Summer season, this one leans more into Autumn. 

Next we have Fallen Fruit, which follows the ethereal lead of the rest of the album. This song, like a lot of Lorde’s work, has deeply sapphic undertones, and celebrates love without gendered borders. 

Last on the album, but certainly not the least, is Oceanic Feeling. This might be my personal favorite song on the album; artfully crafted lyrics meet a masterful melody, and this song draws the listener in. One of my favorite sets of lyrics was “If I have a daughter / Will she have my waist?/ Or my widow’s peak? / My dreamer’s disposition, or my wicked streak?” Lorde completely outdid herself with Oceanic Feeling. 

Solar Power and Te Ao Mārama show Lorde’s growth as an artist, while simultaneously satisfying fans of her old work. The album and EP have layers of importance within New Zealand culture and the LGBTQ+ community, giving listeners around the world a list of reasons to support Lorde’s impressive work.

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