“Liability” is Lorde’s latest song from Melodrama, out June 16, and even though it’s about the rarefied existence of maintaining relationships in the public eye, it’s also painfully familiar. What woman hasn’t been told, at one time or another, that she is too much?
Alongside the song’s debut today on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show, Lorde discussed the impetus behind the passionate and minimal ballad, which she wrote after riding in a taxi and crying while listening to Rihanna (also relatable!!!). She told Lowe:
I had this realization that because of my lifestyle and what I do for work there’s going to be a point with every single person around me where I’m gonna be attacks on them in some way. If it is having to give up a little portion of their privacy or their life becoming more difficult or whatever. It was just this moment of sadness and I remember it so vividly.
The sadness is intrinsic to her delivery, which cracks and howls when it needs to, but naturally and not forced. More importantly, it beautifully captures the sting we feel when someone lets us know we are “a liability” or any other kind of too-big, unsquashable force, whether our emotions are too fierce or our existences are too wild. There’s one line in here, too, that just gets me with its poetry:
So I guess I’ll go home into the arms of the girl that I love, the only love I haven’t screwed up
She’s so hard to please but she’s a forest fire
I do my best to meet her demands, play at romance, we slow dance in the living room but all that a stranger would see is one girl, swaying alone, stroking her cheek
No, that’s not a Sixth Sense style ending... the girl is HERSELF! Get it! The moral is when people are too small to handle you, you just have to move on and make yourself into more.