Reflections on Lorde's new song Stoned at the Nail Salon, from self-confessed stoney baloney nail artist Tanya Barlow.
When Lorde’s song list for her upcoming album Solar Power dropped, I had multiple people let me know about Stoned at the Nail Salon, often paired with some joke about how it was made for me.
A self-confessed stoney baloney nail artist, I imagined what it would be about before it was released. Vibing out on selections of glitters, dreaming of nail art and colour combos and creating something magical; it’s what I hope people feel when they see me at my own nail salon.
The song itself is so different and so much sadder than I anticipated; honestly I felt a catch in my throat as I listened to it on repeat. It feels like a study in reminiscing on what has happened and paths you’ve taken, and should be taking instead.
Melancholic and bittersweet with lyrics like “All the music you loved at sixteen you’ll grow out of / And all the times they will change, it'll all come around”, Lorde almost undermines the deep thought by saying she’s “just stoned at the nail salon”. It reminds me of deep conversations you have with yourself, in your head, while dissociating somewhere where you’re allowed to drift off with your thoughts. Then someone jogs you out of your dream state and you’re back in the room.
As a nail artist I see this happen first hand quite often - not necessarily internally for my clients, but in a space where you feel comfortable, relaxed, hands held, phone out of reach - the conversations become almost instantly deeper and reflective. I’ve had clients come to realisations that they weren’t happy with their jobs or partners, spitball ideas for life-changing decisions; we talk about families and music and whatever comes up.
So I relate to Lorde’s stoned at the nail salon musings: feeling the need for change; feeling your life and music taste and the people around you change; feeling unsure if you should stay riding 'round and 'round on the carousel and enjoying what you have, or moving on and cooling down (whatever that means), appreciating what you’ve experienced and felt, ready for the next ride.
Or maybe I’m just stoned at the nail salon, again.