Skip to main content

Home Music Music News

Lorde teases her return with cryptic message and hieroglyphics on social media

"Use the existing tools wherever possible ©𝑳ĿŁု⑷♶," Lorde wrote in the caption of her post. "If the tools do not exist you are spiritually obliged to create them © 𝑳ĿŁု⑷♶⚤✬✹❁✰㉗✬✹❁🀥⚭𓆝𓃹𓁙"

By Larisha Paul

Lorde on stage in São Paulo, Brazil, November 2022
(Photo: Pridia Brasil/Wikimedia Commons)

Just as each month comes and goes, so does the mass posting of photo dumps on Instagram, fitting weeks of experiences into a carousel of images. These posts are usually summed up in neat captions, like “cleaning out my camera roll” or “life lately” — anything simple and sweet. But that isn’t Lorde‘s style. The singer returned to Instagram on Tuesday night to share a photo dump of her own, but her caption was filled with cryptic messaging and hieroglyphics.

“Use the existing tools wherever possible ©𝑳ĿŁု⑷♶,” Lorde wrote in the caption of her post. “If the tools do not exist you are spiritually obliged to create them © 𝑳ĿŁု⑷♶⚤✬✹❁✰㉗✬✹❁🀥⚭𓆝𓃹𓁙”

Fans have already taken up the task of attempting to decipher the symbols. A few pointed out that the first few characters, ©𝑳ĿŁု⑷♶, kind of look like her first name, Ella. Others identified the series of stars surrounding the number 27 as a nod towards Saturn returns, the astrological phenomenon that marks a spiritual overhaul around the age of 27. Lorde turned 27 last November and will soon enter her Saturn return period. Other symbols in the dump depict the chrysanthemum tile from the Chinese game Mahjong, the Egyptian hieroglyphic for “a woman and her occupations,” and a crouching Egyptian desert hare.

The accompanying photos Lorde paired with the mysterious caption add little to no context to any of it. In the first of six slides, the musician stands on a balcony in a black dress with her arms resting on a ledge and her eyes closed. In the second, from the same scene, she holds her hair back as she spits over the balcony ledge. In the third, she holds in the palm of her hand a small pill with the word “spit” printed on it. In the fourth, a dish of jewelry sits on top of a pill of books: Constance Debré’s Playboy, Jack Kornfield’s After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path, and Annie Ernaux’s Getting Lost.

Lorde has been checking in every couple of months to share insight about where her head is. In December, she posted a few photos with the caption: “Listening to myself.” In the comments, she responded to a fan who interpreted the post as an announcement of her fourth studio album being on the way. “We’re not CLOSE close you guys… i’m just getting so hype n needed to let u know,” Lorde wrote. “Start ur excitement on a low flame and bring it up to a gentle simmer .. we building stamina for this chapter.”

Lorde’s most recent studio album, Solar Power, was released in 2021. Last year, her debut album, Pure Heroine, celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Lorde’s preferred method of checking in during the Solar Power era was through her email newsletter. Her social media presence has been sporadic at best, featuring the same kind of vague messaging as this most recent post. But in her newsletter, the singer and songwriter is open to unraveling.

“I think a part of me knew that I had hit a wall, and that I needed to invite in the compassion and understand I’d been struggling to generate on my own, and then I’d have something to draw from and mirror,” she wrote in one newsletter blast last year. “It feels like it’s working. I feel incredibly grateful that we have this relationship that we can each give when the other needs it.”

Another revealed: “I’m living with heartbreak again. It’s different but the same. I ache all the time, I forget why and then remember. I’m not trying to hide from the pain, I understand now that pain isn’t something to hide from, that there’s actually great beauty in moving with it. But sometimes I’m sick of being with myself.

She concluded that letter with photos and recommendations for books and music. “Don’t worry about me, I still laugh every day, it’s all moving, even when it goes slow,” Lorde added. “I’ve accepted the mission — I have a self to recover.”

From Rolling Stone.