In 2015, Lorde broke up with her longtime boyfriend, an Auckland-based photographer named James Lowe. She wrote this stripped back ballad about her determination to move on following their split.
I am my mother's child, I'll love you 'til my breathing stops
I'll love you 'til you call the cops on me
But in our darkest hours, I stumbled on a secret power
I'll find a way to be without you, babe
Lorde explained to NME: "I think that when you do this, you have to find a way to live with yourself, because it's not making no one feel anything. A handful of people will listen to this album and have it sort of get them [in the gut]."
"But it was important for me to say," she continued. "And I don't think that song is apologising for it. It's more like, what did you think was going to happen? I was doing this before I met you and I'll be doing this after you're gone… I felt quite empowered."
Lorde said regarding the time she first came up with the lyric: "It was weird, I woke up in the middle of the night and was lying next to someone. And I wrote it down on my phone and I was like, 'Oh God, I feel so naughty writing this!' While somebody's sleeping, like an evil witch. But I really love that song. I feel like it's such a cool, painful moment in the record."
"Bet you rue the day," Lorde sings at her ex-lover, "you kissed a writer in the dark." The Guardian commented to the songstress that using private experience for public art, might come at a cost, as people will start to keep their distance.
"I think it's great," Lorde responded. "That there's going to be a lyric like this out in the world, and that anyone who is potentially interested in meeting me hears it. It is a difficult thing, the relationship between writing about people and knowing them. Loving them. But it comes with the package. Because, y'know, make no mistake about who I am."