Lorde plays with spiritual practices and goes blonde with her new single and music video “Mood Ring,” a satirical take on “wellness culture” and methods of escapism. It’s the latest release from her upcoming third album Solar Power, out this Friday.
“When making this album I did a deep-dive into 60s, Flower Child culture,” Lorde explains. “I wanted to understand the commune life, dropping out from society and trying to start again. That really resonated to me when writing this album. One thing that occurred to me as a major parallel between that time and our time is our wellness culture and our culture of spirituality, pseudo-spirituality, wellness, pseudo-wellness. Things like eating a macrobiotic vegan diet or burning sage, keeping crystals, reading tarot cards or your horoscope.”
In the song’s airy music video, Lorde and her friends try out these wellness tactics in a spa-like setting, mirroring how these activities can serve as a momentary escape from the real world. She embodies a character she feels “tons of empathy for,” one who may be turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms that won’t truly solve her problems.
She elaborated in an email newsletter, “We’re living through wild times, and it’s tough to begrudge anyone the methods they employ to feel sane, questionable though they may be. Something like a mood ring represented a sort of magical thinking, the same kind I dip into when I get my aura photographed, or try and bend my horoscope to my will — when I just need to believe something in a moment to feel good or clear.”
“Mood Ring” is the third offering fans have heard from the Solar Power album, following the sunny title track and “Stoned at the Nail Salon,” an introspective look at growing up and Lorde’s life in the spotlight, which she often escapes by returning to her hometown in New Zealand.
Much of the record touches on nature and the world around us – Lorde told The Guardian that she sees these references as “kind of a grieving process as well as a celebratory one.” She further pays homage to the environment with a Solar Power “music box,” meant to serve as a discless alternative to the traditional CD.