Lorde’s massive comeback single “Solar Power” set the web ablaze when it dropped from out of nowhere in June. Some followers discovered the tune to be a buoyant departure from Lorde’s final album launch, 2017’s Melodrama, whereas others felt the monitor half-baked. On high of that, listeners questioned the tune’s provenance — had Lorde cribbed too intently from ’90s hitmakers like Primal Scream and George Michael?
To listen to “Photo voltaic Energy” clearly and unpack its polarizing sounds, Switched on Pop hosts Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding wanted to talk to somebody with an unerring ear and a razor-sharp thoughts: the writer, poet, and host of Object of Sound, Hanif Abdurraqib. Hanif is aware of Lorde’s catalogue just like the again of his hand, and he’s acquired emotions about this newest launch. However he additionally presents a phrase of warning: Anticipate the album earlier than reserving judgment!
Nate Sloan: What was your first response while you heard this monitor?
Hanif Abdurraqib: I didn’t perceive why it was so polarizing, I feel.
It looks like there’s a line within the sand between individuals who listened to “Photo voltaic Energy” and listen to this as an extension of Lorde’s artistry and others who hear it as a step backwards.
And that’s only a factor that occurs. Individuals get pleasure from selecting groups and selecting sides. However I believed it was simply … advantageous. Few issues are extra puzzling to me in music than when songs or albums or artists which might be simply advantageous elicit an intensely polarizing response as a result of I feel most songs are advantageous.
I feel there are fascinating components to it. However it’s additionally fascinating to me that Lorde has continued to search out methods to maneuver round the truth that, you realize, she’s probably not a singer.
How do you imply?
She is unquestionably not like a singer singer, however she is a really, very expert deliverer of language. I feel she is realigning the best way we should always take into account singers towards those that are successfully simply talking. She’s such a melodic speaker and a melodic deliverer of language that regardless that the vocal thrives aren’t all the time there, when they’re there, they really feel type of hyperproduced. I feel she truly does her greatest work within the type of quiet, gravelly sentences.
What do you assume “Photo voltaic Energy” says about her forthcoming album of the identical title?
Lorde’s biggest talent is her self-awareness, which signifies that the extra devices that she will be able to manipulate or discover her pockets in, the higher her songs are. And for me, I feel what didn’t work about her first album [Pure Heroine, released in 2013] was that she simply hadn’t figured that out. In Melodrama, she extraordinarily figured it out. “Photo voltaic Energy” stays within the prolonged Lorde musical universe, however the purpose why the tune doesn’t transfer me to rapturous pleasure is as a result of it’s maybe a slight downgrade on what she confirmed herself to be able to.
But in addition the factor about first singles, at the very least for me, is I all the time must know the way it appears to be like on the album. I gotta see the way it matches, as a result of that has modified numerous first singles for me, the place the primary single comes out and I’m like, “Ah, I don’t know …” After which I see what surrounds it on the document, after which it makes extra sense.
This interview has been edited and condensed.