New Zealand’s premier pop queen, Lorde, has dropped the second single from her upcoming studio album Solar Power, the unhurried and meditative ‘Stoned At The Nail Salon’.
The song finds Lorde in a more contemplative state than the song’s title might imply. Covering topics like ageing and lost youth, the music pulsates with a gentle push and pull of guitar and vocals, with the sparse arrangement complimenting the song’s unfurling narrative.
“This song is sort of a rumination on getting older, settling into domesticity, and questioning if you’ve made the right decisions,” Lorde explains in a statement. “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.”
Just like Joni Mitchell’s ‘The Circle Game’, Lorde deploys a carousel as a metaphor for the simplicity of youthful days gone by and the slow turning of time. “Round and round forever if I could/But it’s time to cool it down/Whatever that means.” She doesn’t proclaim to have any answers, and she acknowledges that she might even just be worrying about nothing, but it’s hard not to connect with the idea of looking back at the choices that shaped you and whether you would change them if you could.
It’s a significant change from the sunny and vibrant title track that was released as the album’s first single. Perhaps Lorde is signalling that her “good times and warm weather” LP might come with a side of summertime sadness? In any case, it adds an added dimension to her recent releases and harkens back to the more sombre sounds of her second album Melodrama.
Listen to the audio for ‘Stoned At The Nail Salon’ down below. Solar Power will be released on August 20.