10 Mar 2017

What does Lorde's Liability remind you of?

2:34 pm on 10 March 2017

Having trouble putting your finger on it? Here are some possibilities...


As if our wee brains weren’t still spinning from the Friday release of Lorde’s comeback single Green Light, this morning we were greeted with a shock: another song.

With her upcoming album Melodrama not slated for release until mid-June and viral success to keep afloat, Liability emerged entirely by surprise today giving us mere moments to form our hot takes.

And form them we did. A ballad about heartbreak and the alienating power of fame, like Green Light the song is being fawned over for its glimpse of a more vulnerable, personal side to young Ella.

What the Internet seems to be less sure of, however, is just what does this song sound like. From the melody to the flow to the vocals and the lyrics, there is something familiar about Liability that is hard to put one’s finger on.

This is by no means to say our national icon has ripped anyone off. But, as we scramble to acclimatise to a world where Lorde releases music, let’s try and pin down a few of the things we hear when we hear Liability.


The number one comparison being made is to Rihanna’s Higher, not because the songs really sound that alike or address the same subject matter, but because Lorde herself cited it as her inspiration.

To be fair there are similarities. For both artists the songs are less poppy and produced, with a more traditional, almost retro sound, over which the idiosyncrasies of their voices reach peak levels of charm.

But does it really sound like Rihanna? Or does it sound more like…

Everyone knows Lorde loves David Bowie and with a career as varied as his it is entirely possible that this is true. Don’t hear it? Maybe it sounds more like…

A young quirky songstress writing about feelings? Could be, could be. That Yahoo ad was pretty popular during some of Lorde’s most formative years, after all.  But, one might wonder, is what we are hearing something more along the lines of…

As a Bright Eyes super fan, I can abide by no direct comparison.

However: the quick and breathless flow; the False Advertising-esque line about being a toy; knowing that Lorde and Connor Oberst are buds - do what you will with this information. Some more information:

Can we really compare our young antipodean princess to My Chemical Romance, the greatest emo band that ever was? Well, dear reader, believe it or not it seems you can. Considering Liability’s intense emotion, perhaps this is not the stretch one might imagine. Speaking of stretches…

When you think about it, this 20-year-old Kiwi girl does sound a little bit like a particularly talented taxi driver.

Mystery solved.