As we wait for Kanye’s new record, let’s take a deeper look at Lorde’s Solar Power. The second single Stoned at the Nail Salon has some of Lorde’s somber observational lyrics that we fell in love with on Melodrama. The Solar Power record itself is not as dark as Lorde’s previous work, but is a more well rounded record. Now at 24 with a few records under her belt, Lorde explores a variety of emotions from joy to sadness and regret. Stoned at the Nail Salon is a great middle ground with Lorde sharing her existential musings on life, love and identity.
The track starts with Lorde’s melodic voice drifting over some acoustic guitar. This is the sonic equivalent of laying on the beach and staring at the waves. What I love about this track is how the laid back arrangement highlights the lyrics and takes you into Lorde’s space at the nail salon. Moreover, she does some interesting multi-tracking and layering with her vocals, which gives the track an ethereal quality.
Lorde is an amazing songwriter who is able to elevate daily observations into art. On this track, she seems to be reflecting on her life and the ups and downs she has experienced since being a rockstar at 16. She talks about how she loves the simple life she has, but still wonders what she is missing. Moreover, there are amazing lyrics such as: “‘Cause all the the beautiful girls, they will fade like the roses.” However, she also goes back to what is important in her life, which is family: “Spend all the evenings you can with the people that raised you.” Most of all, she has a critical look at her own stardom when she released Royals at 16. The lyric, “‘Cause all the music you loved at sixteen, you’ll grow out of” highlights how her music and views on the world have evolved and matured.
Above all else, Lorde brings a levity and humour to all these deep thoughts and introspection. She sings about family, fading beauty, gender stereotypes and her own personal growth from a punk rock indie girl at 16…but she might just be stoned at the nail salon. I love how these serious thoughts and insights are immediately undercut with “Maybe I’m just stoned at the nail salon.” This is a great way to dilute the potential self – seriousness of the track with a laugh.
I think Lorde is a modern day Joni Mitchell with a splash of Kurt Cobain. I know that is a high bar, but I don’t think she has put out a bad record. She is an incredible songwriter who can move from dark cutting commentary to light humour all within a few lines. Much like Mitchell, she is able to elevate observational songwriting to an art, while keeping the critical punk edge of Cobain. I love Lorde and think she is one of the best musical / lyrical talents in the last ten years….or maybe I’m just stoned at the nail salon….
Listen to Stoned at the Nail Salon