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Promotional single by Lorde
Released March 9 2017
Recorded 2015/16
Length 2:54
Producers Lorde
Jack Antonoff
Genres Indie, artpop
Label Lava Records, Republic Records
From Melodrama
Chronology
"The Louvre" "Liability" "Hard Feelings/Loveless"

"Liability" is the second song dropped from Lorde's sophomore album Melodrama. It was released on March 10th 2017.[1]

Background

Writing and Composition

"Liability" was written and produced by Lorde and Jack Antonoff in Antonoff's apartment with the rest of the album over an 18-month period. The song has been described as a piano ballad.

Lorde revealed to a crowd at a secret iHeartRadio concert she held in Los Angeles that "Liability" was inspired after a night she became "so overcome with anger and emotion". She walked about three to four miles, before getting an Uber to take her home. About this, she said

"I was in this cab alone listening to “Higher” by Rihanna because Anti had just come out, and I had a little cry and I was just like 'it’s always going to be this way, at some point with everyone it’s going to be this way.' But the song kind of ended up turning into a bit of a protective talismans for me. I was like, you know what, I'm always gonna have myself so I have to really nurture this relationship and feel good about hanging out with myself and loving myself.[1]

She later said on an exclusive Spinoff podcast that

“I’m so aware of the thoughts that are so potent in a moment and then, in the light of day, you’re like, ‘Alright, I was being a bit of a drama queen there, but it’s all good, I’m over it.’ But I went and immortalised it and now everyone who talks to be about that song gives me this look like I’m dying of a terminal disease … but I think that is the nature of writing a record called Melodrama.”

About writing the song, she revealed:

“I started crying … and I was crying because I was feeling this very specific feeling of being too much for somebody, It felt like no one could ever love me for all that I am because I’m a lot; I feel everything so deeply. Ever since I wrote the song, I’ve felt such a suit of armor — there’s a force field between me and that feeling. It’s like writing that song helped me celebrate being too much. If you listen to my music, there’s probably moments where you feel like you’re a little much. Maybe you’re an intense person. Maybe you walk into a room and you bring a lot with you swirling around. But I want you to know you are not too much. You are perfect.”
Lorde revealed that she rejected the song after first writing it. "Liability" was originally intended to be a rap skit. She said she wanted to find a "fancy sound designer" to put the listener in a party. In there, she wanted to evoke the feeling of her walking away from said party down a hall, find a room, shut the door and then deliver a verse and chorus of the song. She also intended to have dialogue within "Liability", with someone calling her name and Lorde walking out of the room as the listener stays inside waiting for the next song to play. She contemplated changing the framing of the track but refrained from doing so.[2] She also recalled spending a couple of days in Waiheke to write this song.[2]

She announced the album release date, June 16th, on Twitter while releasing Liability.[1]

Reception

Critical Reception

The song has been critically praised. Graeme Tuckett, writing for Stuff New Zealand, said that "Liability is a break-up confessional, a diary entry of a song. It reads raw, stripped back, nicely under-produced – just a ballad-ish piano to accompany Lorde's voice this time – and particularly well sung."

Chart Performance

The song debuted at number 78 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Usage in Media

The song is heard in the television series Quantico.

Lyrics

[Intro]
One, two

[Verse 1]
Baby really hurt me
Crying in the taxi
He don't wanna know me
Says he made the big mistake of dancing in my storm
Says it was poison
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

[Chorus]
They say, "You're a little much for me
You're a liability
You're a little much for me"
So they pull back, make other plans
I understand, I'm a liability
Get you wild, make you leave
I'm a little much for
E-a-na-na-na, everyone

[Verse 2]
The truth is I am a toy
That people enjoy
'Til all of the tricks don't work anymore
And then they are bored of me
I know that it's exciting
Running through the night, but
Every perfect summer's
Eating me alive until you're gone
Better on my own

[Chorus]
They say, "You're a little much for me
You're a liability
You're a little much for me"
So they pull back, make other plans
I understand, I'm a liability
Get you wild, make you leave
I'm a little much for
E-a-na-na-na, everyone

[Outro]
They're gonna watch me disappear into the sun
You're all gonna watch me disappear into the sun

Credits

Recording and management

Recorded at Conway Recording Studios, Rough Customer Studios (Brooklyn Heights, New York), and Electric Lady Studios (New York City)
Mixed at Electric Lady Studios (New York City)
Mastered at Sterling Sound Studios (New York City)
Published by Songs Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Songs LLC, and Ducky Donath Music (BMI)
Personnel

Lorde – lead vocals, songwriting, production
Jack Antonoff – songwriting, production
Barry McCready – assistant engineer
Eric Eylands – assistant engineer
Tom Elmhirst – mixing
Joe Visciano – assistant mixing
Brandon Bost – assistant mixing
Tom Coyne – mastering

Laura Sisk – engineering

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Lorde Releases New Song 'Liability'" - Billboard
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Spinoff Exclusive: Lorde explains the backstory behind every song on her new album - The Spinoff

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