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Pure Heroine (2013), 7/10
Melodrama (2017), 6/10
Solar Power (2021), 6.5/10

(Click qui per la traduzione Italiana)

New Zealand's singer Lorde, i.e. the 16-year-old Ella Yelich-O’Connor, became a sensation with the hit Royals from the album Pure Heroine (2013), architected by New Zealand's producer Joel Little. The whole album is a fresco of moody, aching youth, penned with innovative arrangements, especially on the dreamy, Enya-esque Ribs, continuing with the polyrhythmic carillon of Buzzcut Season and the distorted keyboards of 400 Lux. Royals pales in comparison with the electrifying Tennis Court. The catchy martial refrain of Team and the bouncing White Teeth Teens (suspended between Spector's girl-groups of the 1960s and exotic synth-pop of the 1980s) signal a unique way to channel facile pop muzak into majestic statements. The angst of the millennial generation found a powerful voice.

Lorde's Melodrama (2017), produced by Jack Antonoff of the Bleachers, but also with help from pop titans such as Kuk Harrell (Rihanna, Beyonce), Malay (Frank Ocean) and Symbolyc One (Madonna, Beyonce), was not as creative but still boasted clever constructs such as Green Light (Spector-ian production, synths, dissonant piano) and Hard Feelings (with a distorted instrumental break). Her vocal skills shine in the Kate Bush-ian Writer in the Dark (drowning in an ocean of strings) and in the sleek piano ballad Liability. The Louvre (with a pathos-filled coda of acoustic guitar that is reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen). One step up from Taylor Swift and two steps up from Ariana Grande, but certainly not revolutionary, and it is debatable who should get credit, since most of the appeal comes from the arrangements. And nothing here matches the magic of Ribs and the urgency of Tennis Court.

Solar Power (2021), produced again by Jack Antonoff, is a subdued, mellow, guitar-based and mostly drum-less work that contrasts with its predecessor. The delicate and pastoral soul-rock shuffle The Path sets the tone. There are lively moments, but always whispered, like the country-ish ditty Secrets from a Girl (that ends with an odd monologue by Swedish pop star Robyn), the jazzy Mood Ring and the Caribbean-tinged Dominoes. There are charming melodies, but always humble and almost shy, like Solar Power (virtually a cover of Primal Scream's Loaded), Fallen Fruit, which revisits renaissance psalmody via Simon & Garfunkel, and standout Stoned at the Nail Salon, which sounds like a (catchy) tribute to Joni Mitchell. The contemplative tone peaks with the atmospheric psych-folk ballad The Man with the Axe.