Tag Archives: symbolism

Maroon (Part 1): Flex that Vocab [The Rosetta Stone of Taylor Swift]

30 Oct

Rather than try to figure out the pronouns or subject I thought the simplest way to start to decode this song was probably just looking up words. I mean, you know the general meaning of maroon or rubies, but I don’t know a lot of the symbolism or religious meanings and things like that. Here we go!

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

How’d we end up on the floor anyway?

You say, “Your roommate’s cheap-ass screw top Rosé”, that’s how

It looks like a lot of people think rose is a “girly” drink. Can we STOP gendering drinks?! Anyone can enjoy any wine (or not) and anyone can drink whiskey. I personally enjoy either depending on the occasion.

Something a bit more compelling to me is the season. Rose is a summer wine. And Taylor sings about seasons a lot. August.

I see you every day now

And I chose you

The one I was dancin’ with in New York

No shoes, looked up

At the sky and it was

The burgundy on my t-shirt when you splashed your wine onto me

As a color, burgundy is red/brown–near maroon.

The name is from France–Paris.

There is a red/purple wine from France called Burgundy.

I think it would make a lot of sense to do a call back to wine in Paris, so this is probably less about the color burgundy, and more about a memory that took place with the person she’s talking to in the song.

And how the blood rushed into my cheeks, so scarlet, it was

Taylor might be talking about scarlet in the sense of passion. Blood rushing into your cheeks because you’re turned on.

This one doesn’t seem likely, but we do need to remember it for later because there’s that line in another Midnights song that talks about blood-soaked dress.

Scarlet is a very loaded word. And Taylor knows all about that bc she used the word in that context in New Romantics: We show off our different scarlet letters/Trust me, mine is better.

The stigmatizing meaning of scarlet could also tie to the scarlet as passion meaning–if the love is socially unacceptable (gay). Her cheeks are flushing scarlet with passion for a woman which would be “bad” and get her labeled a stigmatizing letter. The one she talks about in New Romantics. Thirdly, this could be an Illicit Affairs situation where the scarlet letter is actually A. Which still works because Karlie is supposed to be with Jo$h.

The mark you saw on my collarbone, the rust that grew between telephones

I don’t think Taylor intended it, but I think it’s a neat coincidence that rust is so aligned with photography, and the subject of this song is a model.

Rust forms when metal is exposed to oxygen and moisture of a long period of time, and weakens the mass of the metal to the point it no longer provides support for the structure. It’s a great metaphor for a relationship that is deteriorating from lack of communication over time. That relationship also weakens because the people in it are no longer on the same page. Assumptions are made, worries creep in, because they’re no longer talking. The structure of their love is weakened even if both people still love each other.

I’m pretty sure this definition wasn’t intended either, but it’s kind of cool Rust is used in programming language, when Karlie’s pet-business is Koding with Klossy.

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

Here is passion again that goes with a scarlet meaning. But maroon also depth and darkness. Taylor could mean deep passion, true love. She could also mean passion, but it’s dark because there are negative things mixed with this passionate love (closeting and cheating).

Creativity–like Taylor uses in her songs.

Is Taylor using maroon like a danger signal because of the problems that occur due to this socially unacceptable passion. Or as more of an Ivy situation where he (Jo$h) will burn the house down if he knew?

Tongue = kissing?

Fire = Leo and Sagittarius sun signs? Or burning passion? Or burning the witches, as talked about in I Did Something Bad?

delusion of attachment = stuff? her career? her fame? True love takes priority over Earthly items and pride?

wisdom of discernment = let’s define discernment:

Given the context of the song and rust that grew between telephones, discernment could mean ascertaining whether Karlie is genuine and good, or if she’s “a false prophet” just in it for selfish purposes. Afterglow is really evoked with this meaning:

In that song, Taylor admits she jumped to the wrong conclusion (probably because they weren’t routinely talking-rust, you know). Taylor assumed Karlie did something terrible that hurt her. But she was wrong. Taylor made incorrect assumptions. It was all in her head, and she’s regretful at her accusations. Could Maroon be talking about the Afterglow situation?

The Buddhist monks, who learn to appreciate spiritual growth over capitalistic concerns, wear maroon. MADE OF BURGUNDY. And represent fearlessness on the path to enlightenment. Which includes valuing love and trusting the vetted, good people. You need to trust more (The Great War, which may also be talking about this very situation).

Other interesting meanings of maroon that still tie into the mistrust that led to the Afterglow situation is fool and abandon. Is Taylor admitting in this song that she acted foolish in jumping to conclusions that Karlie was intentionally hurting her? And is she accusing Karlie of marooning her, or just feeling marooned (abandoned with no hope of rescue) because of that fallout Taylor caused?

When the silence came, we were shaking blind and hazy

How the hell did we lose sight of us again?

Sobbin’ with your head in your hands

Ain’t that the way shit always ends?

You were standing hollow-eyed in the hallway

In Peace, Taylor says she’s always going to closet when the gay rumors get too loud. But in the remainder of the song Karlie refutes these initial lines by TS and tells Taylor how much she truly loves her and will do anything for her:

In Exile, Taylor and Karlie are having a conversation. They are saying this has happened 2, 3, 100 times. The Kaylor relationship has always been precarious, balancing on breaking branches. Taylor tells Karlie she just can’t come out, she’s too scared, but she’ll come out the side door (Lavender haze).

But Karlie says she can’t cry for Taylor, Taylor has to muster up the courage and come out herself. Karlie says they’ve always walked a very thin line so it’ll be fine to leave the closet. Taylor is still too afraid to lose everything. So Karlie leaves her in the hallway holding all this love. Karlie can’t wait around anymore, or deal with any more foiled coming outs-her biological clock is ticking.

Midnight Rain is written after all of that with Taylor looking back regretfully:

Karlie wanted a comfortable family life, but Taylor couldn’t come out, so Karlie went back to the default (Jo$h). Taylor chose her fame over marrying Karly and having a baby. Taylor “wanted” that pain of closeting and lavender haze…

Carnations you had thought were roses, that’s us

If this is the meaning Taylor was thinking of–motherly love is not what Kaylor was going for. They thought their love was sexy and passionate, but turns out it was love you like a friend/sister/mother. That doesn’t seem quite right in this song. I tried to think of other comparisons between carnations and roses:

Carnations are substantially cheaper than roses. Maybe Taylor is saying you thought we had an extravagant, rich, relationship, but turns out is was superficial and cheap. This could fit. But I wondered if the lifespans of the two flowers were substantially different:

And that can’t be it because carnations actually live longer that roses, but Taylor uses them with a negative connotation in the song.

Interesting–some carnations are funeral flowers. So Taylor could just be saying the carnations are the end of Kaylor. Aren’t we learning so much about color and flowers? Thanks, Taylor!

We looked at carnations, so let’s learn about roses:

Secrets! That goes right along with the theme of the song that lack of communication, accusations, mistrust, closeting—all pulled Kaylor apart.

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

So ruby comes from Latin for Red, which Maroon is talking about a lot.

Is Taylor just saying that she gave up the scarlet passion, raw emotion, and love in choosing the closet/fame over Karlie?

Perpetually burning fires? Like a Leo’s fire. Or the comfortable home life? Taylor gave up both.

I’m sure that the healing has nothing to do with this song, but we’re learning so I still included it.

Taylor gave up Karlie (the sun). Ruby is gemstone of…the sun?! It has a MAROON aura!!!

I mean, did this exact paragraph inspire the song, or what???

When I lost you

The one I was dancin’ with in New York

No shoes, looked up

At the sky and it was maroon

The burgundy on my t-shirt when you splashed your wine onto me

And how the blood rushed into my cheeks, so scarlet, it was

The mark you saw on my collarbone, the rust that grew between telephones

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

And I wake with your memory over me

That’s a real fucking legacy that you see (it was maroon)

Taylor mentions her legacy in Anti-Hero:

But I think we can match the vibe of this song a little better. I looked up legacy in relation to career (which Taylor chose over love):

And I wake with your memory over me

That’s a real fucking legacy to leave

The burgundy on my t-shirt when you splashed your wine onto me

And how the blood rushed into my cheeks, so scarlet, it was maroon

The mark you saw on my collarbone, the rust that grew between telephones

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

It was maroon

It was maroon

So there you have it. Just by searching formal definitions of the words within the lyrics we figured out Taylor is probably talking about the Afterglow problem might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back in a relationship with many odds stacked against them. And what was the Afterglow problem–Karlie’s “one for the money” wedding with Jo$h, perhaps? Maybe but that’s a whoooooole ‘nother post! Anyway, Taylor’s mind thinks of worst case scenarios. Throw closeting and beards and a loud biological clock into the mix and we ascertain that Taylor chose fame over love and Karly chose baby over Taylor. And now Taylor is marooned in her loneliness and regret.

Taylor Swift’s Evermore as Amalgamation: Marjorie Analysis

17 Dec

There’s a sadness to Taylor’s voice.  Her Grandmother Marjorie is not dead to Taylor, because her advice can still be heard.  She sings, “I still feel you all around.”  This song means a lot to me personally, because I had/have a very close relationship with my grandma.  And I believe the sentiment that someone can live in your heart, and mind.  “What died didn’t stay dead, you’re alive in my mind” is the primary purpose of the song. 

But it’s still an amalgamation like the rest of the songs on Evermore.  The same sentiment of keeping a person within yourself, after they’ve passed away, applies to career endings (and break ups too).  I think a teeny work sentiment is in the lyrics, a little bit of Taylor needing to remember her grandmothers advice, b/c she’s taking advantage of Joe too much, and the secondary subject of the song is Karlie.


[Verse 1]

Never be so kind

You forget to be clever

Never be so clever

You forget to be kind

These lyrics could address Taylor’s music career.  She needs to balance being nice with being business savvy.


What does Marjorie mean?  Greek, Persian, Hebrew, Irish, Latin: [one of the meanings is] Child of light.

Light = sun = Karlie.  What a konvenient and apt koincidence!

[Verse 3]

The autumn chill that wakes me up

You loved the amber skies so much

Amber is a yellow, even golden color.  And you know who that represents.  Karlie.

Long limbs and frozen swims

Long, tall limbs like Karlie might have?  Frozen like the ground in Hoax.

You’d always go past where our feet could touch 

Symbolic for risk-taking?

“I’d hold you as the water rushes in” [Dancing with our Hands Tied, aka the Kissgate song]

And I complained the whole way there 

Taylor is always afraid and hanging back.  Maybe she’s refusing to come out of the closet.

The car ride back and up the stairs

I should’ve asked you questions

I should’ve asked you how to be

Asked you to write it down for me

Should’ve kept every grocery store receipt

‘Cause every scrap of you would be taken from me

I get that this is a little story of a memory Taylor has with her grandmother.  But the verse does double-duty here, invoking some Kaylor symbolism.  

Tall, sunshiny Karlie and Taylor were in love.  Karlie had dated women more publicly before Taylor.  And Taylor was reluctant to come out or seem gay.  Car rides are a feature of many songs about Karlie, and going up to their secret place with boarded up windows for privacy.  And now that it’s over, Taylor wishes she had been a bit more skeptical, and cynically kept some receipts of their relationship transgressions.  But this is in the song, because she can hold the good Kaylor times in her heart too.


The song quickly addresses her boyfriend/beard as well.

[Verse 2]

Never be so politе

You forget your power

Nevеr wield such power

You forget to be polite

Well He is English and they’re known for their manners.  She may be walking over him and stepping on his feelings by using him for publicity when she needs to, but neglecting to mention him in any real way otherwise.  So both Joe and Taylor need to balance their power dynamic with agreeability.  Nobody should be a tyrant, nobody should be a doormat.


And if I didn’t know better

I’d think you were singing to me now

If I didn’t know better

I’d think you were still around

I know better

But I still feel you all around

I know better

But you’re still around

The outro applies to everyone in the song.  Taylor’s grandmother is the primary subject of the song, whos voice is literally in the song.  Taylor still remembers her advice, and holds her in her heart.  But she also holds her memories of BMR good-times, and Kaylor-love in her heart.  Those good memories will always be with her.  Even though she knows better.