In late 2017, Lorde said she wishes to produce and write an album by herself with no help within the next five years. She again commented on this saying,
"It's stepping up and becoming a producer that I found super liberating. I've got a bit of a goal for myself. I don't know if it will be the next record or the one after, but I eventually want to produce an entire record myself."
In May 2018, she deleted all of her Instagram posts except three and changed her entire layout. She revealed this was because she was "a baby writer in search of a legacy", and would keep her fans posted. She also said she "decided to be clean," and she was "gonna step back from social media and find new ways and exciting ways of communicating with you guys."
In the fall of 2019, she said her third album would be delayed as she grieved the death of her dog, Pearl.
In May 2020, Lorde revealed in an email that she started going back to the studio in December, and to her surprise, "good things came out. Happy, playful things." She and producer Jack Antonoff are still going over everything, and it would take a while longer.
"I can tell you, this new thing, it's got its own colours now. If you know anything about my work, you'll know what that means. [...] The work is so fucking good, my friend. I am truly jazzed for you to hear it."
In October 2020, she shared on an Instagram story that she'll give something in return next year if people vote, teasing L3.
On May 25, 2021, Primavera Sound on Twitter announced that Lorde would be performing in the Primavera Sound Festival in 2022. This led to many speculations and rumors on the app, especially considering the fact that their official website had stated: "Lorde… will emerge from her retirement with her third album after her unforgettable visit in 2018."
Later on June 2, 2021, an insider by the name of RideOrDie had confirmed that Lorde would be releasing "Solar Power" as her lead single and "Mood Ring" as her promotional single. At the end of the text he wrote: "She really hates the winter I guess."
June 7 finally brought something from Lorde. Jack Antonoff, Lorde's producer, had posted a picture of the cover of "Solar Power" on his Instagram and Lorde's website was updated to say "Coming in 2021" and "Patience is a Virtue".
After the song being leaked and released early on June 10, Ella sent an email to her fans announcing that not only would her lead single be titled "Solar Power", so would her third album. She also mentioned how her song was released on the only solar eclipse of the year, and to look at the natural calendar for clues on when her album would come out.
The album's artwork was photographed by Lorde's friend Ophelia. The photo is a low angle shot, showing Lorde's buttocks while she's under the sun. It was revealed on Lorde's official website in June 2021. On the artwork, Lorde stated "It's a specific experience thinking about everyone in your life seeing your butt. I have no regrets. I love this cover and am happy for this to be how people see my butt."
A censored version of the artwork, where the sun obscures Lorde's butt, was shown to Spotify users in Japan, users of China's top music streaming platforms like NetEase Cloud Music and QQ Music, Apple Music users in mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Argentine graphic designer Gustavo Eandi was responsible of the album's logos, as well as Lorde's new logo.
|1.||"The Path"||Lorde, Jack Antonoff||Lorde, Jack Antonoff||3:41|
|2.||"Solar Power"||Lorde||Lorde, Antonoff||3:13|
|4.||"Stoned at the Nail Salon"||Lorde||Lorde, Antonoff||4:26|
|5.||"Fallen Fruit"||Lorde||Lorde, Antonoff||3:58|
|6.||"Secrets from a Girl (Who's Seen It All)"||Lorde||Lorde, Antonoff||3:38|
|7.||"The Man with the Axe"||Lorde||Lorde, Antonoff||4:15|
|9.||"Big Star"||Lorde||Lorde, Antonoff|
|10.||"Leader of a New Regime"||Lorde||Lorde, Antonoff||2:47|
|11.||"Mood Ring"||Lorde||Lorde, Antonoff||3:25|
|12.||"Oceanic Feeling"||Lorde||Lorde, Antonoff||6:39|
|13.||"Helen of Troy"||Lorde, Jack Antonoff||Lorde, Jack Antonoff||2:53|
|14.||"Hold No Grudge"||Lorde||Lorde, Antonoff||4:27|