Lorde Trades Bristling Soundscapes for Minimalist Balladry on ‘Liability’

‘Liability’ this time sees Lorde not concerned primarily with her ex but with herself in the vacuum post-breakup. On comeback single ‘Green Light’, Lorde shot for the stars with a driving house-lit breakup jam and on ‘Liability’ it’s more experimentation as she contemplates her coming-of-age thoughtfully over a soft piano ballad. Lyrically, ‘Liability’ is a very raw account of adolescent realisation and epiphany but also the baggage of fame, especially on someone who found it so young. Lorde learns that fame burns many of the relationships she has but she finds solace in loving herself and learning to be content in solitude when she needs to be.

However, knowing how innovative of a landscape that Lorde sculpted on Pure Heroine with menacing synthscapes, punctuated drums and sweetly excessive reverb, ‘Liability’ feels too bare, with just a piano to back the nuance of her numbed, slurring vocal. Tracks like ‘Royals’ and ‘Team’ were sneering, debauched billboards that spoke for the detached, digital age. But on ‘Liability’, even with its sincere narrative, Lorde sounds like she’s written a song for everyone else.


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