So Lorde came out with this piano ballad a couple months ago (the exact date being March 9th). And because of who I am—a pathetic, philosophical perfectionist/poet— I was on YouTube replaying this song, as well as her new song, “Green Light” for hours and hours upon hours, bouncing in the seat of a broken rocking chair. I skipped all my homework that night and scrambled to do it in the morning. All for Lorde. Oh no, this all sounds too religious for its good.

And yes, the rocking chair had broke even further by the end of the night.

Now as you can tell, I love Lorde and her deep, thought-provoking songs about teenage life, relationships, and observations through a carefree lens. I’ve listened to every song on her first album, Pure Heroine, and consider buying her second album, Melodrama, in the summer (which is something I don’t consider hardly for any music artist).

But this is not a review, nor my first reaction post about “Liability.” In fact, it’s not even technically a review, unless you can consider it a review of myself. A reflective analysis is another way to put it. Yeah, that sounds decent. But no, this is about my hundredth-something time with this powerful song.

A couple of days ago, on a normal day, on a day back from school with the air monotonously blowing, the TV constantly chattering, and the family awake and roaming, but me stretched out on my bed, feeling like a dead weight more than a human. I was humming the song at first, but then my throat went numb. Then, silent. I listened to her raw voice through little black headphones as the piano chords transformed into something orchestral-like; the biggest rush of emotions had hit me then. Feelings of stress, sadness, hopelessness, fear. And Loneliness—that big word that kept me immobilized on top of my bed.

I had all my friends on Skype, and my family in the other room. The former I could contact only by the stretch of my arm and one thumb. But despite my aching loneliness, my body refused to move.

Every perfect summer’s

Eating me alive until you’re gone

Better on my own

Instead, I laid there and I cried to myself. There were only a couple of wet tears, but I promise the rest was flooding me from the inside.

Lately, I’ve been wanting to speak my mind on things. Big, important discussions I’ve been keeping within the bowels of my analytical heart for a long, long while. I was waiting for someone to strum those heartstrings, to give me a chance to splurge it out at once.  But in waiting, they became irrelevant. Like they’re so irrelevant that no one cares to involve themselves in it with me when I finally have the courage to tell them. “And that’s fine,” I thought to myself. “I don’t expect a lot of people to.”

But it’s the type of expectation, the type of predetermined rejection that still hurts your feelings. You know either way you’re going to waste someone’s time and effort to listen, but people are too nice to tell you (good for me and my perfectionist tendencies) Especially in the South, southern hospitality teaches its society to be sweet and quiet in the tone of the voice. You know not to look too deep into the face or you’ll see the boredom, confusion, disgust.

But still, you know you wasted their time. You know you said something too weird, too awkward, too out there, and you get those looks. Better yet, they laugh or smile or say some sympathetic jargon like “bless your heart,” all out of pity. Yes, it is that type of melodramatic emotion that seems apocalyptic in the moment.

 

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

 

It’s like I’m a liability to people, at least when I speak to my friends, teachers, acquaintances. Things that sound so impassioned and philosophic-breaking in my head come out odd and inarticulate; with my tongue, I only receive blank faces and whispers behind my back.  I understand by reasoning in life that everyone at some point has been and/or is liability out of dependence—whether as a child or spouse or whatever. However, this liability is like the auto insurance, the car accident that happens by your fault, the bad liability, the dead weight, the pest.

And I know it’s not true and it is something deep inside me that’s force feeding me these lies. I know that they are lies. But my emotions are telling me it is the truth:

They say, “You’re a little much for me

You’re a liability

You’re a little much for me”

It is one of those discussions I’ve kept in my heart in fear that I was the only one feeling that way. Of course I talked with friends about it, and they said they’ve understand it. But did they just understand it, or feel it? Did they feel the storm inside of me?

I look back on that selfish thinking and shake my head, glad that I have the excuse of waddling around in mopey feelings. “Liability” by Lorde helped me, in a semi-depressing way, to cope with these feelings of fear, irrelevance, and uselessness. Hearing it on a bad day showed me that I wasn’t the only person who’s felt this way, that even a popular songstress like Lorde was capable and fully aware of this very human thing.

 

“They’re gonna watch me disappear into the sun

You’re all gonna watch me disappear into the sun”

-Lorde, “Liability”

The lyrics above, as well as the lyrics sprinkled throughout this analysis, are my favorite lines on the song. It’s a relatively short song (less than three minutes) so to have all these lines considered as favorites is a good thing on Lorde’s part; congrats for writing a great, personal ballad. But this outro in particular sticks with me because of its ambiguity. Depending on my emotions, these lines can be a variety of things for me. Some optimistic, some not so much. 

The version I prefer relates back to those feelings that bothered me for so long. Consider it an anti-tribute to the emotions who had the audacity to lie to me and call me a liability in the first place. When I hear those lyrics, I feel myself rising to the Sun, to the Son, to Christ. And all my little, mean emotions, the people who actually consider me dead weight, and the manipulative Satan watches me disappear from their hell into another realm. A heaven. A place where the thoughts are positive, the people are loving, and I have the courage to speak in the way I want. Even if I have to speak through pen, and not through my teeth.

And by ink (or computer screen), I am reminding myself that I am not a liability. My negative emotions are. Since I can’t just fly off to God physically, but in a spiritual sense, I let them go instead. I let them go to disappear into the sun.  🙂

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