How Lorde Grew Up, Embraced Guitars and Made a Feel-Good Summer Song

Lorde used to hate guitars. Then came “Solar Power.”

Once a moody teenage sensation who preferred electronics like keyboards and 808s, the singer, songwriter and producer born Ella Yelich-O’Connor is now 24 and open to sounds that used to remind her of “bonfires and guys in dumb hats.”

In June, when she released “Solar Power,” the title track to her new album — the first Lorde release in four years, out Aug. 20 — the strummed acoustics weren’t the only surprise. Lighter, freer and more playful, Lorde traipsed around the beach in her native New Zealand, singing of sunshine.

In the latest episode of Diary of a Song, which breaks down the making of a track, Lorde traces the personal and sonic evolutions that led to this tribute to her home landscape and the natural world, with unlikely references from the Mamas and the Papas, Primal Scream, the Len song “Steal My Sunshine” and Robbie Williams’s “Rock DJ.” (The culty music video, meanwhile, splits the difference between a vintage Coca-Cola commercial, “Days of Heaven” and the picturesque horror of “Midsommar.”)

Conceived and recorded between Martha’s Vineyard, New York and New Zealand, “Solar Power” was written and produced by Lorde, along with her frequent collaborator Jack Antonoff, and features backing vocals from the singers Phoebe Bridgers and Clairo.

See how the song came together in the video above.

“Diary of a Song” provides an up-close, behind-the-scenes look at how pop music is made today, using archival material — voice memos, demo versions, text messages, emails, interviews and more — to tell the story behind the track. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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