By Brian Ives
“‘Liability’ is a funny one,” Lorde tells Radio.com in an exclusive interview. “It felt so amazing, writing it. It really felt like… it was so cathartic, like, ‘This is somewhere that we haven’t been.’ To me, it’s so quintessentially what I think of when I think of melodrama, just wallowing in this feeling. ‘No one could have ever felt the way I’m feeling right now.’ It’s very indicative of the theme of the record. But I think everyone has those moments of feeling like, ‘Have I just punished everyone around me?’ or, ‘Am I just a massive tax [on everyone]?” It felt nice to get it out.”
Like “Green Light,” “Liability” deals with the aftermath of a breakup. “People forget that breakups are so complex,” she says. “You can feel love for that person while hating them more than you’ve ever hated any person. I wanted to express all the sides of how that feels in the song. And when I think about the song, we just stuffed everything we could into it. I’m really proud of it. I’m proud of how complex it is.”
The album was a collaboration with Jack Antonoff of fun. and Bleachers, who has also worked with Sara Bareilles, Taylor Swift and Sia. Lorde says that other than his abilities to get great sounds and write great songs, he encouraged her to dig deep when it came to her lyrics: “You just want to tell Jack everything when you meet him. He is an amazing person. We are so close, and I think our closeness helped the record get to where it is now. It’s rad.”
Despite the angst in her lyrics, in person, she comes off as calm, and very comfortable in her own skin. She laughs easily and often. “I think I’m settling in in my old age,” the twenty-year-old says. “A lot of people met me when I was sixteen or seventeen. I was very much a teen. I do feel calmer now that we have put [new] stuff out, and people are excited to see where we’re going with the stories that I’ve been waiting to tell for a few years.”
And her audience spans generations: singer/songwriter Juliana Hatfield, who has been making records since the late ’80s (her 1993 album Become What You Are is a classic), became a fan after hearing “Green Light.” She recently wrote a glowing op-ed about Lorde for Talkhouse, saying, “Lorde is young enough to be my daughter and I am old enough to be her mother, but I want to learn what she knows.”
“That was so… I actually got quite emotional,” Lorde says of the article. “That was such an incredible thing that she wrote. When you write pop music, what I do is about distilling very complicated things, and making them very very simple. I love that challenge. But I always hope that people will still feel the complexity of that moment. So for her to talk about all the nuance of that song… it was so beautiful. When she said, ‘I want to know what she knows.’ I was like, ‘I don’t know anything!’ Obviously, she has such seniority over me, and I was so grateful for her ‘read’ on the song, and it reaffirmed that people do get it.”
Lorde’s Melodrama is scheduled for release June 16th. Fans can pre-order the album here.