Olivia Rodrigo
Search Menu

Meaning of ‘1 step forward, 3 steps back’ by ‘Olivia Rodrigo’

Dark Light

Released: 2021

Olivia Rodrigo’s song “1 step forward, 3 steps back” dives deep into the tumultuous nature of a relationship that seems to be stuck in a cycle of progress and setback. The lyrics showcase the emotional rollercoaster the singer experiences, always caught in the push and pull between feeling loved and dealing with conflict.

The opening lines, “Called you on the phone today / Just to ask you how you were / All I did was speak normally / Somehow, I still struck a nerve,” set the scene for a conversation that goes south quickly. Rodrigo is just trying to have a normal chat, but even that somehow ends up causing tension. This moment highlights how fragile the relationship is, where even simple talks can’t happen without problems.

When Rodrigo sings, “You got me fucked up in the head, boy / Never doubted myself so much / Like, am I pretty? Am I fun, boy? / I hate that I give you power over that kind of stuff,” she’s expressing how this relationship is making her question her self-worth and her identity. It’s about the power dynamics where her partner’s opinions and moods have too much influence over how she sees herself.

The chorus, “‘Cause it’s always one step forward and three steps back / I’m the love of your life until I make you mad,” encapsulates the whole vibe of the song. It shows how the relationship is stuck in a cycle where every little progress seems to be followed by major setbacks, especially when conflicts arise. It’s a dance of coming closer and then retreating far away.

Later, Rodrigo contemplates, “And maybe, in some masochistic way / I kinda find it all exciting / Like, which lover will I get today? / Will you walk me to the door or send me home crying?” Here, she reflects on the possibility that there’s a part of her that’s drawn to the unpredictability and intensity of the relationship, despite the emotional toll it takes on her.

Towards the end, “It’s back and forth, did I say something wrong? It’s back and forth, going over everything I said,” Rodrigo is second-guessing herself, trying to understand where things went wrong. This back-and-forth represents her inner turmoil and confusion, trying to piece together if the issues are her fault or her partner’s.

In the song’s closing, “And I’d leave you, but the rollercoaster’s all I’ve ever had,” Rodrigo admits that although the relationship is filled with ups and downs, it’s also all she knows. This captures the dilemma of wanting to leave because of the pain, but also clinging to it because the intensity feels like love.

In essence, “1 step forward, 3 steps back” by Olivia Rodrigo peels back the layers of a relationship fraught with insecurities and fluctuations. It’s a raw look at how love can sometimes feel like a battle, where the line between holding on and letting go gets blurred by emotions.

Related Posts