Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor, the performer famously known as Lorde, hasn’t released new music in four years, which is an eternity in the pop world. What has she been doing all that time? If you guessed, “smoking weed,” you’re not wrong. The singer has surged back with a single called “Stoned at the Nail Salon,” and released a music video last month that employs a rather surprising candidate from the vegetable kingdom as a smoking apparatus.
Yes, Lorde is shown briefly smoking out of a fennel bulb in her new video for “Solar Power,” the title track off of her upcoming third studio album. Fans were convinced that the visual clip was an extended commentary on climate change, though the singer denied the theory in a recent interview with the UK Guardian.
This video is a flower-power style stoner fantasy — many beautiful people performing contemporary dance on a secret beach in New Zealand, where the Kiwi singer has been riding out the pandemic and taking an extended social media break. In the video, Lorde herself scampers about in a canary yellow underwire crop top and skirt that we admit truly begs to be worn while smoking out of a vegetable and running around on an idyllic beach.
The fennel shot is brief enough that you could ostensibly miss it if you weren’t a cannabis reporter (and looking for it), but Lorde was happy to confirm that she had been puffing in a June interview when a pair of New Zealand radio hosts asked if she was indeed consuming from a bulb.
"Yes I am,” Lorde said. “I took your standard apple bong and made it a bit more chic, a bit more me.”
"I'm sure if you hit it for long enough the fennel would begin to roast,” responded one of the hosts, who then asked her if she had voted in New Zealand’s failed voter referendum to legalize cannabis last year.
"Oh my god, are you kidding?” she responded. “Everyone knows it's a yes.”
The referendum, which would have legalized production and sale of cannabis to people over the age of 20, foundered by a margin of 48.4 to 50.7 percent.
The country’s popular progressive prime minister Jacinda Ardern refused to take a public stance on the issue until after the election results were confirmed. After the measure failed, she confirmed that she voted in favor. Since then, she has doubled down on her belief that possession of marijuana should not be a crime.
So perhaps Lorde’s recent swing into cannabis culture should be seen as an attempt to sway the opinion of her fellow Kiwis. Despite such probable sincerity, her new music has not been matched with universal critical acclaim. Take, for example, the review over at Pitchfork for her newest single “Stoned at the Nail Salon:" “[Lorde's] swings at profundity fall short — she is stoned, after all.”
Well, you kind of left yourself open to terrible marijuana humor, Ella. For the record, Lorde says the song is far from limited to cannabis ramblings and is in fact about, “That kind of searching, being unsure that I had chosen the right path and feeling lonely, I don’t see those as permanent or even bad emotions.”