This was the first song to be heard from Bloodsports, Suede's sixth studio album and their first since 2002. Speaking about the song frontman Brett Anderson told NME: "'Barriers' isn't the first single but we are proud enough of it to just chuck it out there and thought that its pulsing, romantic swell somehow summed up the feel of the album quite nicely." It was made available as a free download on January 7, 2013.
Regarding the album Anderson told NME: "It's about lust, it's about the chase, it's about the endless carnal game of love. It was possibly the hardest we ever made but certainly is the most satisfying. it's ten furious songs for me, we have reclaimed what Suede was always about: drama, melody and noise."
Coming off of a 10-year hiatus wasn't easy for Suede. The guys were beginning to doubt whether they should make a comeback at all until this song came together. Brett Anderson told NME: "Writing 'Barriers' was a real tipping point, actually. For some reason, it just sort of, it really hit the real sweet spot of between kind of sounding like Suede but not sounding like self-parody and sounded fresh enough. Suddenly we wrote that song and it felt, 'Okay, we got a record here. We're starting to get a record.'"