What Do 1 Step Forward 3 Steps Back's Lyrics Signify?
1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back's lyrics describe the harmful effects of inconsistent communication on a romantic relationship.
Musically, the song is a tender downtempo ballad driven by a damp piano and subtle bass. Upon Sour's release, the song received positive comments from critics who complimented its simplistic instrumentation and vulnerable lyrics.
After her debut song "Drivers License" became a viral hit, Rodrigo announced the name, track listing, and cover art for her debut studio album, Sour, on April 13, 2021.
The fourth track was named "1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back." Taylor Swift and Jack Antonoff were listed as the songwriters of "1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back" when the album's personnel was made public on digital music platforms on May 20, 2021.
According to Rolling Stone, the song interpolates Swift and Antonoff's "New Year's Day," written in 2017. Rodrigo credits swift as one of Sour's main inspirations and her greatest musical motivation.
On May 21, 2021, the album went on sale in physical shops, online through streaming services, and on Rodrigo's website.