It’s been four years since ‘Green Light’ shook up pop. Yes, it feels like an aeon as well as a blink of an eye, but Ella Yelich-O’Connor, known by her stage name Lorde has always been an artist with a poignant relationship with time. For those of us waiting with bated breath and for the rest who had grown tired and given up (as with, cough, Rihanna), this week’s revelation of new music felt like an olive branch in a long-fought war.
But Lorde is no stranger to demanding patience from her stans who, as the album cycle for her second project Melodrama came to a natural end, were quick to take to social media and air their anticipation for more new music. One can only assume that for artists who traverse the pop churn with artistic integrity and an innate flair, there’s a never-ending din of fan-built pressure to navigate. Yet, as in the wake of debut album Pure Heroine (which was also followed by a four-year sabbatical), Lorde persisted at her own pace; in May last year she stated that “The greatest gift I can give you is my work that lasts ten, twenty, thirty years. And that kind of work takes time”.
As a spectator, you always feel that Lorde is on the plane of something bigger; a sentiment reinforced by the dropping of her comeback single ‘Solar Power’ on the northern hemisphere’s solar eclipse this week. Why choose a mere New Music Friday when there’s the opportunity to make a mark with something far more memorable and rare?
While ‘Green Light’ was a break-up anthem that captured the stubborn defiance of sadness and life after heartache, it also acted as a doorway into Lorde’s next phase of life. One that had already passed for her personally but was belatedly recounted to her audience like an epistolary novel. As Lorde’s vulnerability emerged through her walls, fans embraced her music with zeal because the tales of her lyrics resonated with them too. It is easy to forget that Lorde is still only 24 and living and growing in tandem with the bulk of her fanbase, but this is what makes their union powerful: they are her “Team”.
If there were ever a relatable lyric that captured the pang of a scorned lover it was “I know about what you did and I wanna scream the truth / She thinks you love the beach, you’re such a damn liar…”, back on ‘Green Light’. ‘Solar Power’ sees Lorde bring her story back to herself as her own protagonist with simple, breezy frivolity. “I hate the winter, can’t stand the cold, but when the heat comes, something takes a-hold,” she says, before mentioning that “my boy is behind me”, taking pictures of her on the beach.
Lorde is better now, and she’s living her best life – after all, she’s back on the beach.
Megan Thee Stallion – ‘Thot Shit’
WELL, if Meg doesn’t know how to come back with a bang – and she’s extra reinvigorated in ‘Thot Shit’. Her first new music following the release of debut album Good News (which spawned the anthem ‘Body-ody-ody’), ‘Thot Shit’ celebrates sexual empowerment and brushing off the critics during your Hot Girl Summer. Megan’s love of horror definitely bleeds into the track’s iconic video: commit to the end.
Doja Cat – ‘Need To Know’
Despite stating that ‘Need To Know’ is “just some shit before the next more important single comes out” from the imminent album Planet Her, this latest drop by Doja Cat is wholly worthy of being classed as. Skittish beats power a swaggering rhythm whilst Doja croons her desire over an otherworldly undercurrent of synths; it’s pretty lush.
Tinashe – ‘Pasadena’ feat. Buddy
Plucked from upcoming album 333, Tinashe’s new drop ‘Pasadena’ is as fun as it is frivolous. Brisk handclaps and percussion propel the breezy melody along, the bright guitar work marrying with the clarity of Tinashe’s vocal. If you were looking for the sound of summer, then you’ve found it.
Naomi Banks – ‘I Don’t Mind’
Wasting no time in following her debut EP Meeting Again, London’s Naomi Banks is no stranger to expressing her feelings within her music. Led by her dulcet tones, the new single ‘I Don’t Mind’ is a feel-good anthem for Pride Month that “is about a polyamorous relationship and accepting all the adventures your partner goes on as long as they are happy and being treated well”.
Tkay Maidza – ‘Cashmere’
Following the recent release of ‘Syrup’, Tkay Maidza’s new single ‘Cashmere’ is the latest tease from Last Year Was Weird. Vol 3, the final instalment of her trilogy of EPs that showcase her vision in its full diversity. Dreamy and infused with rich synths, its playfully bubbling beat and melody tug at Tkay’s soulful vocals as she explores her floral wonderland.