Lorde Undergoes Mystical Transformation and Searches for Feeling in “Mood Ring” Video

Off her third album Solar Power, the new single takes on the tropes of wellness culture.

Lorde‘s third album cycle is upon us. Over the past couple months we’ve gotten the title track, “Solar Power,” and the gentle zillennial ballad “Stoned at the Nail Salon.” Now, the last single before the album drops this Friday is called “Mood Ring” and it has heavy early Nelly Furtado vibes. In a pre-premiere chat, Lorde revealed that the track is about “trying to feel spiritually connected in our modern world.” She also exhibited a few small props that help her stay grounded—a word she laughed at herself for saying—including the perfume she wore during the making of Solar Power (Byredo’s Mojave Ghost) and stickers of moons, suns, and vegetables that she loves.

In her newsletter, Lorde wrote: “It was really interesting distilling some thoughts on wellness culture and the search for spiritual meaning in our modern world into a 3-minute pop song.” She emphasizes that this song is a satire and that she’s playing a character in the video. Over a blissful acoustic guitar bit fit for Jessie McCartney, Lorde’s voice is feather-light but tinged with weariness. “Ladies, begin your sun salutations / Transcendental in your meditations / Love and light,” she commands seductively as a culturally appropriating girlboss. “You can burn sage / And I’ll cleanse the crystals.” The world is burning, masses of people are dying, but that’s in the periphery. The auras are all wrong, but why? What is this feeling? “I can’t feel a thing / I keep looking at my mood ring,” she sings during the chorus.

“Mood Ring” seems like a far jump from the poptimist romantic we got to know on Melodrama and the suburban cynic we initially met with Pure Heroine. Rather, it combines the love of late-’90s pop music and the satirical voice that burned through teenage tropes. A part of me hates this character who wants to shoo away systemic issues with a sage wand, but another part couldn’t even imagine what that reprieve of ignorance might bring.

Lorde has captured the escapism of wellness culture and self-care language that businesses have capitalized on because, well, nowadays we hunger for anything to make us feel good. The eerie sweetness of “Mood Ring” is another potent reminder that even when the consumerist jargon fades and our crystals can’t change the world order, we still suffer.

Also, Lorde has undergone a dramatic transformation for the single’s video. I won’t give it away, but you can watch it all below.

Newsletter

We won’t spam you. Promise.