Miley talked about her decision to write "Malibu" about Liam in an interview with Billboard in May. "They're going to talk about me if I come out of a restaurant with Liam. So why not put the power back in my relationship and say, 'This is how I feel?'" she said. Miley also explained the deeper meaning behind the lyrics, telling Carson Daly, "It's definitely about love. If that's how it is, that's what it is, but it's saying, 'You brought me here and I'm happy that you did.' Next, 'cuz now I'm as free as birds catchin' the wind.'"