Lorde’s new single, “Solar Power,” is basically a long build a chorus. And along the way, you might have thought to yourself “I’ve heard this before.” And you definitely have.
Let’s talk about the chord sequence. “Solar Power” is written in Mixolydian mode, which can result in sequences that feel uplifting and anthemic. Other songs written in Mixolydian mode include the Stones “Sympathy for the Devil,” “Clocks” by Coldplay, and “Learn to Fly” from the Foos. (A good explanation of the music theory behind this sequence can be found here.)
Oh, and here are two more: “Royals” and “Green Light” by Lorde. Not that there’s anything wrong with this. She knows that songs that sound like this have huge hit potential.
“But wait!” you shout, “There’s more than that going on! I’m SURE ‘Solar Power’ has the same groove as another one.” And you’d be half right. There are actually two such songs.
Here’s the first one: “Freedom! ’90” from George Michael, released October 30, 1990. Note the groove of the rhythm section.
And here’s the second one: “Loaded” by Primal Scream, released in February 1990.
Wow, huh? To be fair, though both those songs were released six years before she was born–which is exactly why I believe her when Apple Music’s Zane Lowe asked her about the similarities (via Pitchfork.)
Look at it this way: If you were born in 1970, then your musical coming-of-age years would have begun around 1983. That would be ground zero for much of your musical knowledge. Would you have been expected to have widespread knowledge of the music of 1964? Of course not.
I had never heard Primal Scream in my life. I’d been told to check them out. I wrote the song on the piano, and then we realized like, this is, this sounds a lot like “Loaded.” It’s one of those crazy things that like, they just were the spiritual forebears of the song. I reached out to Bobby [Gillespie], and he was so lovely about it. And he was like, You know, these things happen; you caught a vibe that we caught years ago. And he gave us his blessing. So let the record state “Loaded” is 100%, the original blueprint for this, but we arrived at it organically. And I’m glad we did.
Isn’t it nice to see people work things out instead of immediately launching lawsuits? More at Variety.
BONUS: The artwork for “Solar Power?” Yeah, that looks familiar, too. (Via Olie)