Lorde’s “Stoned at the Nail Salon” Lyrics Meaning

As fate would have it, Lorde is currently experiencing something like a midlife crisis, even though at the moment she’s only 24 years of age. And based on her explanation of the sentiment behind this song, such is a direct result of her celebrity.

This is a notion that she pretty much reveals from the onset, as the narrative starts off with the vocalist wondering if she chose the right path in life. Lorde never goes as far as to mention her celebrity status in the lyrics, thus granting the song a general applicability. 

I’m I missing something in Life?

And what she is saying in the first verse is that she’s pleased with her life overall, which appears quite simple yet in an edifying sorta way. But concurrently, her mind sometimes wonders if she is missing out on something.

Now what the choruses indicate is that, as implied above, such ruminations are actually age-based. In her earlier days, i.e. her youth, the vocalist behaved more wildly. But now she has come to realize that “it’s time to cool it down”. For she is able to perceive that time is finite

Or another way of interpreting these philosophical musings is that if you want to have certain experiences in life, there’s only so much time available to actually do them. 

Or perhaps, as postulated by the singer herself, all of these complex thoughts are the result of her being “just stoned at the nail salon”, i.e. high, inebriated or what have you, which by the lyrical looks of things are activities she engages in regularly.

Lyrics of Lorde's "Stoned at the Nail Salon"

Could this midlife crisis be romance based?

Or, some of you may be thinking that a woman in her early 20s having a midlife crisis would undoubtedly be related to romance. And Lorde infers as much in the second verse, as the lyrics rather shift to her addressing a romantic interest. 

And even in this case, the lyrics are, shall we say symbolic. But the insinuation is that after the two of them had the time of their lives together, at some point they went their separate ways. Yet as indicated by the final line of the passage, Lorde still has feelings for him. 

So perhaps, going out on a limb, one of the primary reasons she’s melancholic would be because she is in fact a grown woman yet evidently doesn’t have a significant other in her life. And you know, many women in their early 20s don’t really think like that. 

But again, we’re dealing with someone who has noticed how she has matured throughout the years.  And to her, such maturation may ideologically include being married or what have you by this point in life, as some other young women may think also. 

Key Sentiment of “Stoned at the Nail Salon”

Indeed if anything, the thesis sentiment of this track would be the vocalist coming to the realization that she can’t run around wild like a teenager all of her life. And we may even postulate, considering the wording of the second verse, that the reason she parted ways with the aforementioned lover is because she went on to mature faster than he did.

And you may be wondering exactly what any of this has to do with Lorde’s celebrity, as put forth earlier. Well according to her explanation of this piece, it wasn’t lack of romance or anything like that which made her conceptualize it. Rather it came from Lorde developing insecurities in terms of her music career, as if maybe she had become outdated or too old.

Remember that, as we have noted on our previous analysis of her debut single Royals (2013), Lorde is someone who blew up when she was just 16 years old. And now we have other female vocalists, like Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo, doing the same, while Lorde herself is not as popular as she was in days past. 

So as the songstress has expounded in her own words, the sentiments expressed in this song were “borne out of [the] feeling” that she may now be “over the hill” as far as being a poppin’ musician is concerned.

Well, at least she was considerate enough to take the time to put that sentiment into a more relatable context, as most of us will never know how it feels to have once been an A list teenage musician. 

However, we do tend to have our periods of feeling less than fulfilled, especially in a romantic context if we are indeed single. But all of that noted, the vocalist herself obviously isn’t taking such thoughts too seriously. For she is able to recognize that they may also be sourced from her simply being “stoned”.

Facts about “Stoned at the Nail Salon”

On 21 July 2021, “Stoned at the Nail Salon” became the second single released from Lorde’s Solar Power album. The entire project was brought to us by Universal Records.

This song was written and produced by Lorde. She accomplished the writing alongside Jack Antonoff. Jack is a multi-instrumentalist and accordingly played a number of instruments on the track.

Lorde is an artist who was fortunate enough to experience massive success from the jump. For instance, despite being from New Zealand her first LP, Pure Heroine, achieved triple-platinum status in the United States. The second, Melodrama, wasn’t quite the commercial success but did perform better critically, reaching the pinnacle of the Billboard 200 for example. And to note Jack Antonoff was also heavily involved in that album, as he is in Solar Power.

The first time this track was teased was on 21 June 2021, when Lorde publicized the tracklist of Solar Power.

Three of the backup vocalists on this song have notable singing careers in their own right. And they are:

  • Phoebe Bridgers
  • Marlon Williams
  • Claire Cottrill (aka Clairo)

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