Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Liability - Lorde (musical poetry)

In March of 2017 New Zealand native artist, Lorde, released "Liability", her second single that is a part of her sophomore studio album Melodrama that will be released in June.  The song was written by Lorde and American Musician Jack Antonoff and was debuted on March 10, 2017.  While on Beats 1 Radio, Lorde stated that this song came from a sad time in her life.  She also expressed what the song means to her: "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."

"Liability" is a perfect example of musical poetry.  The lyrics tell a story about heartbreak, loneliness, and self doubt.  The first verse gives the listener the sense that the singer is not in a good place.  Lorde sings about a guy abandoning her.  The line that is really catching sings "Says he made the big mistake of dancing in my storm...Says it was poison."  This line tells a story about how the singer is having a hard time and this man leaving her makes it worse.  He made a mistake dancing in her storm, or in other words, made a mistake being with her.  By describing the singer as a storm, the guy in the song shows how she is not doing well emotionally.  The rest of the verse has a very interesting hidden meaning that is hard to understand after the first listen.

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

Lorde sings of how she will go home into the arms of the only love she hasn't screwed up, the girl that she loves.  The lonely demeanor of this song makes it strange to hear of her going to see the only love that she hasn't screwed up.  However that girl is herself.  She tries to love herself and keep herself together through all of her heartbreak and loneliness.  The writing in the song does a great job hiding the meaning and thus making it more poetic.

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

The preceding excerpt is the first part of the second verse.  Lorde uses a metaphor to compare herself to a toy.  This excerpt is very powerful because it represents her as an object controlled by others.  She doesn't have control over how others interact with her.  They enjoy her company until they are bored.  And when they get bored they leave her and break her heart.

"Liability" is a powerful sample of poetic music that is anticipated on the Melodrama album later this year.  It will be Lorde's second feature length album.  Her debut album, Pure Heroine, is packed with minimalist instrumentals and poetic lyrics that I would recommend to anyone.

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