"Stoned at the Nail Salon" is a delicate folk song where Lorde ruminates on getting older and whether she's made the right decisions in life. She started writing the song in 2019 after completing her Melodrama World Tour. Lorde had been craving the simple things again - cooking, gardening and walking the dog - but after six months of domesticity, she started feeling unsettled.
The New Zealander explained in an e-mail to her fans she began to "fall out of step with the times culturally." Now in her mid-20s, Lorde wondered if she was "over the hill." This song was born out of the feeling that she was becoming outdated and old. "I was sure that I was building a beautiful life for myself," she said, "but I wasn't sure if that life was going to satisfy the same thirsty, fearless person who could tear apart a festival stage or be in seven countries in seven days."
Lorde uses the song as a dumping ground for her reflections on becoming an older stateswoman. During the first part of the chorus, she sings of a recent revelation that all the sexy models on social media will age like she is.'Cause all the beautiful girls, they will fade like the roses
Lorde told The Guardian
she realized there was no need to feel inferior compared to the sexy models. "We're all on the same bus," she said. "At some point we have to get on the bus back."
Lorde then says she finds contemplating the passing of time reassuring.And all the times they will change, it'll all come around
She's now old enough to realize time eventually wins every battle.
The song title comes from the last part of the chorus where Lorde highlights her mundane existence in New Zealand when she's not recording or touring.
I don't know
Maybe I'm just stoned at the nail salon
Maybe I'm just stoned at the nail salon again
Faced with nothing to do after her busy touring cycle, Lorde whiles away the hours by getting high and getting her nails done. She told Apple Music's Zane Lowe: "No one needs anything from me at home, and that's when I'm like, 'Am I okay? Is everything okay?' And that's what the song was born out of, was that insecurity of feeling like, 'Oh, no one's seen me in ages. I haven't posted a picture of myself looking cool.'"
Solar Power producer Jack Antonoff co-wrote and co-produced the song with Lorde. A multi-instrumentalist, Antonoff played all the instruments on the track: piano, mellotron, electric 6-string guitar, acoustic guitar, and bass.
Lorde arranged all the vocals and bought in four friends to sing backup:
American singer-songwriters Phoebe Bridgers and Clairo
New Zealand indie pop artist Lawrence Arabia
New Zealand singer-songwriter Marlon Williams
Phoebe Bridgers and Clairo also provided background vocals on the album's lead single, "Solar Power
Lorde released "Stoned At The Nail Salon" as the second single from Solar Power on July 21, 2021. Sparser and more restrained than its lead single, Lorde told Zane Lowe it's "definitely one of the quietest, most introspective and internal moments on the record, but I thought it was cool to start with 'Solar Power' and then to be like, 'And also this.'"
Lorde wrote her previous album, Melodrama, in the aftermath of a breakup, and the resulting tracks were mainly downbeat. The New Zealand star considers Solar Power to be more joyful and optimistic, with even questioning songs like this one upbeat rather than melancholic.
"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," she told The Guardian. "It's all part of the thing (life) to feel that trepidation. Maybe it is sad, but I'm very comfortable in the periods of limbo, or times where I feel afraid or vulnerable."
Lorde also released a version in the Maori language
. It is one of five tracks on Te Ao Marama
, an EP cut entirely in the indigenous language of the singer's birthplace, New Zealand.