New Zealand is known for producing three things: Lord of the Rings, lots of sheep, and electropop icon Lorde. With her new album Solar Power out, now is the perfect time to assess her discography and create our very own top 10 list of her beautiful songs.
Lorde's music is a mix of melancholy, pure joy, and young adult spunk. If it hadn't been for the head of Universal Music Group finding a video of 12-year-old Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor at a school talent show, we wouldn't have Lorde's intellectual lyrics and funky electronic beats gracing our eardrums.
She's got two Grammys, two Brits, and a Golden Globe nomination to her name. But more importantly, Lorde has authentic songwriting, unconventional sounds, and respect within the industry that ensures her career is one that will live on. These 10 songs prove Lorde has earned her aristocratic stage name!
10. "Secrets From a Girl (Who's Seen it All)"
We start with a song fresh off Lorde's newest album. "Secrets From a Girl (Who's Seen it All)" contains the same party elements as the songs from her previous album, Melodrama. But what makes this song different from Melodrama tracks is its optimistic sound, Sheryl Crow-esque acoustics, and Lorde's newfound maturity.
Ultimately, the song is about learning to carry your emotional baggage - no matter how heavy it may be. The second verse addresses the death of Lorde's beloved dog Pearl, and the flight attendant outro by Robyn is possibly a nod to Prince's "International Lover."
9. "Buzzcut Season"
One of the most underrated songs off Lorde's first album Pure Heroine, "Buzzcut Season" is rooted in the artist's memories of summer. The title is derived from the buzzcuts her and her friends used to give each other whenever warmer weather started to roll around. The track is about finding safety and security with the people you love despite the world being a dangerous, violent place.
If we had to pick between this song and "Tennis Court," this would be our favorite. Like "Tennis Court," "Buzzcut Season" mentions a swimming pool Lorde and her friends go to in order to feel at ease. In terms of this song's production, we love the slightly tropical drum beat and the dreamy keys. Don't get us wrong: "Tennis Court" is a great tune, but we feel "Buzzcut Season" shows a bit more depth and development from the New Zealand artist.
8. "Solar Power"
Lorde really makes us wait 2 verses, 2 pre-choruses, and 2 choruses before letting us listen to an explosive, satisfying outro.
You've probably heard the title track of Lorde's new album everywhere recently, especially because it's been popular across TikTok. "Solar Power" is special because it announced Lorde's return after several years of no new music, and revealed a more hopeful side to her sound fans hadn't heard before.
In a time where climate change is wrecking our world, "Solar Power" asks listeners to embrace and protect Mother Earth. We love the freeing music video for this track, which sees Lorde running around through a secret beach community. She wears a gorgeous, sunshine-y yellow frock that, as her song lyrics would suggest, makes her look like a "prettier Jesus." Blink three times when you feel it kicking in!
7. "Fallen Fruit"
One of the most critically acclaimed songs off Solar Power, "Fallen Fruit" is the previous song's more pessimistic and truthful cousin. It's got a folksy, Fleet Foxes vibe and uses Biblical imagery to examine how the previous generation has left the newer generation in shambles. "From the Nissan to the Phantom to the plane," they've caused climate destruction and increased CO2 emissions. They got to eat fresh apples, while Lorde says the rest of us are left to dance on "fallen fruit."
While this climate anxious song has a sad tone, Lorde does provide some hope with the line, "Took the great minds and the vapers / And a pocketful of seed / It's time for us to leave." Whether the human race will leave through extinction, traveling to other planets, or possibly our carbon footprints will just be left behind...only time will tell.
"Liability" is a gorgeous and haunting piano-driven ballad which discusses Lorde's internal struggles. It's received a boost in popularity lately thanks to its use in a special episode of HBO's Euphoria, where the character Jules watches her life flash before her eyes while this emotional song plays. While not about anyone in particular, "Liability" is deeply personal and has Lorde confronting her perceived flaws.
Lorde herself described the song as "a strange part of [herself] for a lot of people to look at," and said in an interview:
"It’s kind of not really about anyone. It’s about me and just feeling the pressure of people finding it difficult to be friends with me - to be close to me. It was very much a product of me sitting alone in taxis and alone in my living room, and working out how to be my own best mate really.”
No song on Pure Heroine captures the theme of friendship better than "Team." While "Royals" was Lorde's big break, "Team" cemented her as an artist to watch out for. From the perspective of a ruler looking over her kingdom, Lorde calls for her subjects to find pride in their place of residency (New Zealand) and their opinions.
The line "I'm kind of over gettin' told to throw my hands up in the air" was a pretty critical line to release in 2013. It was a time when radio was oversaturated with party pop (like Flo Rida's "In the Ayer") that told listeners just to boogie and not do anything else. Lorde refusing to put her hands up not only shows teenage rebellion, but a young maturity not found in other artists at the time.
4. "Green Light"
Melodrama opens with the eruptive "Green Light," which sees Lorde addressing her first major heartbreak. While looking back at painful memories of her unfaithful ex, Lorde looks to the future - waiting for a "green light" to let her keep going with life.
There's so much to love about this song: the thumping drums, energetic keys, hopeful vibe, and of course, Lorde's astounding vocals. Like being on the road, all the combined sounds of "Green Light" make you feel like you're driving in a fast car.
What better track to listen to while trying to get over a breakup? There's no way you can't dance while listening to this bop. Lorde even said during her Vogue 73 Questions interview "Green Light" is her favorite Melodrama song to perform.
Lorde's magnificent debut! "Royals" is a staple of early 2010s' pop culture and it would be criminal of us not to rank it within the top 5.
"Royals" debuted at #1 in New Zealand and eventually topped the Billboard Hot 100, outranking Katy Perry’s “Roar” and Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.” It was originally part of Lorde's 2012 EP The Love Club, but was put on Pure Heroine due to its popularity.
With a minimalist beat and wise lyrics, this song offers a playful critique of luxurious celebrity culture. Lorde isn't saying she's immune to materialistic temptation: she's just saying not every desire needs to be acted upon. After all, money can't buy happiness. As Pure Heroine suggests, only friendship can.
2. "Stoned at the Nail Salon"
We believe "Stoned at the Nail Salon" is Lorde's best track from Solar Power. As the title would suggest, it's chill yet deeply existential. In our opinion, it's a perfect representation of everything Lorde is as an artist.
In a press statement for the song, Lorde talked about the meaning of this melancholy track. "This song is sort of a rumination on getting older, settling into domesticity, and questioning if you’ve made the right decisions," she said. "I think lots of people start asking those questions of themselves around my age, and it was super comforting to me writing them down, hoping they’d resonate with others too. I used this song as a dumping ground for so many thoughts…"
We love how this song talks about life's simple joys, and how getting older can be both a blessing and a curse. Many fans believe "Stoned at the Nail Salon" is the second part of the #1 song on our list...
Ever wonder what the feeling of nostalgia sounds like? Just listen to "Ribs."
Ethereal, emotional, and oh so entrancing, "Ribs" is a lament about getting older and missing the people you used to see in childhood. The "mum and dad let me stay home" line suggests the perspective of this song is told from someone at a party. Vivid imagery like "reeling through the midnight streets" and "laughing till our ribs get tough" help to enrich this bittersweet tale. It's a dream, but also a nightmare.
You really feel like Lorde is talking to you in this track, and the singer has claimed she especially likes this song among others in her discography. "Ribs" didn't have the flashiest debut on Pure Heroine like "Royals" and "Team" did, but it's a song true Lorde fans can't get enough of. Can you believe Lorde was only 16 when she wrote this? "Ribs" really is a tear-jerker in the best way.
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Article Image: Lorde singing into a microphone while performing at Lollapalooza in 2014. (Liliane Callegari [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons.)