If you’re anything like me, you might be wondering who all those other voices belong to on Lorde’s new album, Solar Power. On album opener “The Path,” Lorde cedes control of lead vocals early on to a harmonious choir of voices. Turns out those voices belong to Phoebe Bridgers, the indie upstart Clairo, and New Zealand alt-rockers Marlon Williams and James Milne. Singing in unison like dutiful members of a church congregation, the group joins Lorde in warning against worshipping false idols. Now if you’re looking for a saviour, well that’s not me, they all croon together. It’s too bad their hypnotizing harmonies undercut that message entirely. One listen to “The Path,” and I’m primed and ready for the arrival of our lord and savior…Robyn?
Yep, that’s right. The heavenly speaking voice you hear at the tail end of “Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen It All)” belongs to the OG of Smart Pop, the Swedish sensation, the one and only Robyn. Playing the role of a blissed-out flight attendant, Robyn offers listeners a surreal greeting of sorts. “Welcome to Sadness. The temperature is unbearable until you face it.” Honestly, this is perfect casting. Who better to play a messiah-cum-flight attendant than an international dance-pop star who is so beloved, she once inspired a horde of strangers to come together, unprompted, in a New York City subway station for a group singalong of her hit single “Dancing On My Own.”
In the album’s press materials, Lorde described Robyn as a role model of sorts. “I’ve learnt so much from her about being a young woman and growing up,” wrote Lorde. “I absolutely love her on this song, and I love her in general. I’m so happy we could do this together.” Two idols of pop music on a single song. I know Lorde doesn’t want us to worship false idols, but I would happily follow both of these women into a cult.
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Abigail Covington is a journalist and cultural critic based in Brooklyn, New York but originally from North Carolina, whose work has appeared in Slate, The Nation, Oxford American, and Pitchfork
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