Maroon

This song is going to have many interpretations… and again I would like to leave speculation out of it but I DO want to reference other songs that could be different interpretations or moments in her life that this song could stem from. In my own personal belief, since watching Taylor since she was 16, I do believe that this song is about two different people – two different plot lines merged together. I think we can have instances that haunt us from two different time periods at the same time – wondering where we went wrong or wondering why we tolerated the treatment or lack of love we received.

The only reason for this idea is because there have been events like New Years Eve, with a past love – kissing in crowds [midnight rain]. There was a discussion of spilled wine on a blouse – significant others of hers that actually had roommates vs those who did not, and obviously references to other songs that reference dancing in New York or being barefoot. However, Taylor never wants her words to be pinpointed to a specific person, so she also frequently uses ‘barefoot dancing’ as a metaphor for falling in love. We see it a lot in her work actually –

Scrapping all ideas from speculation and old work – this song reads differently, which I think was its intention. Since Taylor specifically stated this was a conceptual album – it is asking the viewer to begin the album as if they knew nothing prior. If you have been following Taylor for awhile, you get sometimes caught up in the who and not the what. We as listeners need a reminder that songs are stories, and most of the time are only reliant on a very small portion of the truth… meaning they are inspired by life but sometimes not factual due to melodies, beats, and the rhythm of the song that flows with words. Not only that, but can you imagine listening to a song about a mundane love with an average break up? No. [lol] Sometimes overdramatizing the lyrics MAKES the song.

Similarly to ‘Folklore,’ this album begins with the ending of the story or at least the current position of the Narrator. Lavender Haze begins with the story of two people in love, one really going through it, the other being the spectacle of it all but being able to handle it just fine. The narrator wants to enjoy the love and the ride but has so many outside voices tearing her love apart from the outside in – and is finally understanding that although she can not give her loved one peace, he is giving it to her. The following song, Maroon, is the first story we get from the past. So as I go through each one of these songs – I will add the additional information that we know from the songs previously.

It’s interesting because this album doesn’t necessarily go in order in which Taylor actually faced these events. So to separate her work from her personal life gives us an entirely different story than her real life – which I think is the exact point – we don’t know shit.

Maroon

When the morning came, we were cleaning incense off your
Vinyl shelf ’cause we lost track of time again
Laughing with my feet in your lap
Like you were my closest friend

There isn’t much to dive into this first verse theoretically. She’s painting a beautiful visual story as she normally does. I see this scene pretty dark – hazy – and it feels like home. I can also see this happening non-romantically and romantically. There are so many moment’s I’ve had like this with my best friends and also with romantic partners.

The line I do get caught up in is “Like you were my closest friend.” The moments we believed someone in our current existence was our everything and would be there in the future. Again, non-romantically and romantically we’ve felt this. You can’t imagine anything tearing you apart and you believe they are your best friend but you’re not sure if you are their best friend. It feels like you were tricked if it doesn’t last.

“How’d we end up on the floor, anyway?” you say
Your roommate’s cheap-ass screw-top rosé, that’s how
I see you every day now

The visual story continues.

I listen to a podcast called “Every Single Album,” with Nora and Nathan and Nora did mention something about Styles definitely having roommates so WITH speculation it could be this sleepless night that she is referencing when he actually did spill wine on her on New Years Eve and in the song “Olivia” by Styles’s former band One Direction contains the line, “Just thinking how I went about it wrong / This isn’t the stain of a red wine, I’m bleeding love.” This is attached to the chorus later on “The burgundy on my t-shirt when yo splashed your wine into me.”

The other way I could read this is two people who ARE roommates, sitting, and joking around and as they fall to the floor one asks, “how did we even get here?” and the other references in 3rd person, “Your roommate’s cheap-ass screw-top rose, that’s how,” referring to themselves. This is a less likely one from the following stanzas/verses since the flashbacks to other songs are quite loud in representation. Anyways, again, not much theory besides a great story line – painting the picture for the listener.

The line, I see you every day now – is actually one of my favorites though. It feels like a happy accident. We hung out, drank too much, laughed while we fell to the ground, and were hooked. I get to see you every day – it wasn’t a rare occurrence but a beginning – which goes into the chorus.

And I chose you
The one I was dancing with
In New York, no shoes
Looked up at the sky and it was

The girl dances barefoot in the house often in her songs. The thing I love about Taylor’s writing is she does reference the same stuff over and over with different people so we can never really identify WHO these songs are about. She protects them, even if they hurt her [besides like two people lol]. But many people have linked “All Too Well,” and dancing in the kitchen in New York as the continued story with a more grown up perspective.

But – I chose you. You were the one I wanted. Again using the metaphor of dancing barefoot as falling in love; so falling in love with you. Dancing barefoot is an interesting metaphor too – because it’s freeing to not be contained but it’s dangerous depending on where you do it. Could you step on glass? Hurt yourself? Could you slide on a substance and fall further down? Is it painful? Is it peaceful? It all depends on who you are with.

Missing him was dark gray, all alone
Forgetting him was like trying to know
Somebody you never met

The burgundy on my t-shirt
When you splashed your wine into me
And how the blood rushed into my cheeks
So scarlet, it was

She looked up at the sky and it was the replay of these memories. The moment wine was splashed onto her [probably on accident] and the nervousness or embarrassment of the incident. What I do find interesting is her use of scarlet.

Scarlet here can mean two things – first it was a ‘brilliant shade of red,’ referring to the wine – or she is referring to the wine color but leaning into the next line of the mark they saw on my collarbone, as scarlet is usually paired with ‘adultery’ or being promiscuous. So scarlet meaning the times things got hot n heavy and left a mark for all too see which also leads to the ‘blood rushed into my cheeks’ when someone pointed it out to her face. [again this is also something documented in the past which makes me believe this song isn’t tied to All Too Well but I can see that link due to the shift of color from red to maroon which is similar to the changing of scar color].

The mark they saw on my collarbone
The rust that grew between telephones

The mark they saw on my collarbone because of intimacy, the rust that grew between telephones as silence occurred between two people. Some incredibly bad takes online [tiktok] have referred to this line as domestic violence… no. I don’t think any one would write about DV so casually… and it wouldn’t fit with either the way this song is presented or the information we’ve gathered up until this point. I understand wanting to find a song that maybe is relatable in these harsher tones but this song isn’t it.

This same instead happened in “All Too Well” when people were trying to make it about DV because of the line “you never called it what it was.” But they didn’t continue the lyric of “TILL IT WAS DEAD AND GONE AND BURIED,” meaning you never called it love until it wasn’t – NOT that it was gaslighting, or abuse, or anything but tainted love. Reading the lyrics rather then depending on measure breaks is so important to not misinterpret the lyrics.

I really love the phrase rust that grew between telephones instead of just simply stating ‘we didn’t talk any more.’ The silence that builds up like rust that is hard to undo. The time that occurs in between each ‘reach out.’


The lips I used to call home
So scarlet, it was maroon

The lips I used to call home but are no longer where I spend any time. So scarlet, so dark, so deep, it was maroon. Ok so the use of Maroon – we must discuss. Although people see this as just a color – the act of marooning means – “to put ashore on a desolate island or coast and leave to one’s fate.” The narrator is kind of saying, you left what you know what your future, your fate, your home, and left me alone.

ANNDD this is how it’s also linked to “All Too Well,” simply because of the song and lines ‘
Cause there we are again when I loved you so
Back before you lost the one real thing you’ve ever known

When the silence came, we were shaking, blind and hazy
How the hell did we lose sight of us again?
Sobbing with your head in your hands
Ain’t that the way shit always ends
?

When the silence came – the rust that grew faster between phone calls, the silence that filled between each line we said to one another – we were shaking, blind and hazy. We couldn’t walk with two feet in front of another, we couldn’t see where we were going – we didn’t know if we could function.

The rest of this verse, again, is very story telling. Someone crying in their hands – after a fight or a moment that made them realize it was nearing the end.

You were standing hollow-eyed in the hallway
Carnations you had thought were roses, that’s us

The use of hollow-eyed caught me on this. When I think of hollow-eyed I tend to think of lifeless, dead, going through the emotions – the actual definition is having deeply sunken eyes, typically as a result of illness or tiredness. Tiredness from fighting? From defeat? Carnations you had thought were roses – okay so, this is funny to me because there is speculation this song is about a girl specifically, but how many women do you know that would mess this up? lol none. But any ways, this seems like a very young boy thing to do – fix the problem by getting them roses even though they know it wont fix everything.

What I do LOVE about this line – is the that’s us. Carnations are kind of known to be the knock off, cheaper version of Roses. Roses symbolize love [red roses] and carnations actually symbolize love too but also many other things at one time. However carnations are cheaper and easier to grow then roses – but are a good stand in for them. So comparing this to that’s us, to me hits really deep. We thought we had the real deal, the real thing, but it turns out it wasn’t.


I feel you, no matter what
The rubies that I gave up

I feel you, no matter what the rubies that I gave up… so many shades of red in this song. Ruby / Gems meaning: a precious stone consisting of corundum in color varieties varying from deep crimson or purple to pale rose. But did the narrator give it up? Or did the significant other throw it away. We gave up one shade of red to replace it with another shade that represents abandonment. No matter what, the narrator feels this person and the memory of them, whether they are there or not. They cannot stop thinking about this moment, this time, and what left when the other person did.

And I lost you
The one I was dancing with
In New York, no shoes
Looked up at the sky and it was maroon

Taylor always shifts the bridges / verses at the end to tell another aspect of the story. So the one that was once chosen, was lost. She looked up at the sky, however this time, she didn’t see the memories, didn’t see the moments of happy embarrassment, didn’t see a love story but she saw sadness, pure hurt, abandonment and …

And I wake with your memory over me
That’s a real fucking legacy, legacy (it was maroon)
And I wake with your memory over me
That’s a real fucking legacy to leave

… memories that haunt her instead of make her look up. We shift to the future in this verse, almost as if there were time between the last paragraph and this one. Waking up in panic and memory of this instance – replaying over and over.

It was maroon
It was maroon

It was loneliness. It was abandonment. It was fate left on read.

The Represented Image

For this specific image I actually see this much differently. A really dark basement, foggy because of smoke, warm lights but cold atmosphere. However, I do have to work with what I have [or build it]. However the song is SO visual to me and has so many references to different moments in her life, I brought a few together. I do have a few references to this song visually as well as one other song in the red album – in case it is from that era. Maroon is feeling a pain you didn’t know existed. Maroon is feeling like fate was rejected. Maroon is a healed scar that hurt more than it did while bleeding. But Maroon is in the past – never to be relived again.

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