The Real Meaning Behind Olivia Rodrigo's '1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back'

Like pretty much everyone else in the year 2021, Olivia Rodrigo is a Swiftie. Rodrigo might have the rest of us beat, though; she told Apple Music's Zane Lowe that she is "the biggest Swiftie in the world." And based on her interactions with the legend herself, the "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series" star is certainly making a good case for that title.

When Rodrigo blew up back in January, Taylor Swift was quick to co-sign the young singer's talent. When Rodrigo shared on Instagram that she was "in a puddle of tears" over being next to Swift on the US iTunes chart, Swift commented, "I say that's my baby and I'm really proud" beneath the photo. "I just about died," Rodrigo recalled (via Billboard) upon seeing the comment. "Literally, I've looked up to her as long as I can remember."

While that may have been the first time the two publicly showed each other some love, it certainly wasn't the last. Rodrigo finally got to meet Swift in person at the Brit Awards in May, but it seems they teamed up before that — musically, that is. Rodrigo's debut album, "Sour," is finally here, and the track "1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back" features a special nod to Rodrigo's musical idol, interpolating "New Year's Day" off Swift's 2017 album "Reputation."

Aside from the subtle Swift collaboration, what is this song really about? Keep scrolling for all the details.

Olivia Rodrigo covers familiar territory on "1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back"

Much like her songwriting idol Taylor Swift (and her own previous singles) Olivia Rodrigo sings from the point of view of a jilted lover on "1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back." Rodrigo's unnamed beau has "f**ked me up in the head" because he has been so inconsistent with his affection. "'Cause it's always one step forward and three steps back / I'm the love of your life until I make you mad," Rodrigo sings over a bare piano arrangement. "Do you love me, want me, hate me, boy? I don't understand."

In the second verse, Rodrigo admits that although she's at her wits end, in a weird way, she kind of enjoys the couple's up-and-down dynamic. "And maybe in some masochistic way / I kinda find it all exciting," she admits. "Like which lover will I get today? / Will you walk me to the door or send me home crying."

Ultimately, Rodrigo doesn't really arrive at a conclusion. "I'd leave you but the roller coaster is all I've ever had," she says, before finally concluding, "I don't understand." Hey, we may not understand either — but we can all agree that this is a bop.