Red Flags

Album: Amelia (2023)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • A red flag is a warning symbol that is commonly used to indicate potential danger or to signal for an immediate stop. Mimi Webb wrote this song at a time when she was considering getting back together with someone. Deep down, she questioned why she was more invested than him, though it wasn't like that in the beginning. But she was still besotted with the guy and ignored all the red flags.

    "Looking back at it, though, you connect the dots," she told Official Charts. "I was very in love, I think sometimes you want what you can't have. It can be really challenging and you have to have such a discipline to walk away. For me, I look back at our old conversations and, honestly, that person was really trying to get me to get break up with them. I didn't even see it! I thought it was all green flags."
  • Webb wrote the fiery synth track in late summer 2022 with Connor McDonough, Riley McDonough, Toby McDonough, CASTLE and Ryan Daly. They were discussing red flags while writing the song. "I think I was honestly just trying to get advice from them, you know," said Webb. "When you have a group of guys in the room, who better to ask? I've known these boys for years, literally when I was in LA signing my deal. It felt very full-circle."

    Connor McDonough and Ryan Daly also co-produced the track with Cirkut (Ava Max, The Weeknd).
  • The phrase "red flag" originates from the use of red flags as a signal of danger or warning. Using red flags to indicate danger has a long history dating back to ancient civilizations, where it was used as a symbol of warning or to signal the start of battle. In the 19th century, red flags were commonly used in maritime contexts, such as on ships, to indicate a dangerous condition or to warn other vessels to keep their distance. Later on, the phrase "red flag" came to be used more generally to refer to any warning or sign of danger, especially in the context of relationships when someone's behavior or actions are deemed problematic or potentially harmful.

    Here are some more songs that mention or are about red flags in the context of relationships.

    1989 "Storm Front" by Billy Joel ("Red flags are flying from the Coast Guard mast. They told me to stay, I heard all the information").

    2012 "I Knew You Were Trouble" by Taylor Swift ("It's a song about being frustrated with yourself because here you are heartbroken and you knew when you first saw this person, you saw all these red flags and you went for it anyway," Swift explained on Good Morning America. "So, shame on me").

    2013 "Elastic Heart" by Sia ("And I want it and I wanted it bad. But there were so many red flags").

    2016 "Red Flag" by Gwen Stefani (She vents about the warning signs in her marriage to Gavin Rossdale).

    2016 "Piano" by Cassadee Pope ("Piano" was inspired by a relationship that Cassadee Pope had, where it took her a long time to spot the red flag).

    2020 "Next Girl" by Carly Pearce ("He'll charm your mama with that smile. Hide the red flags for a little while").

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

In The Cards

In The CardsSong Writing

Songwriters have used cards and card games to make sense of heartache, togetherness, and even Gonorrhea.

Eric Clapton

Eric ClaptonFact or Fiction

Did Eric Clapton really write "Cocaine" while on cocaine? This question and more in the Clapton edition of Fact or Fiction.

Band Names

Band NamesFact or Fiction

Was "Pearl" Eddie Vedder's grandmother, and did she really make a hallucinogenic jam? Did Journey have a contest to name the group? And what does KISS stand for anyway?

Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers

Bill Medley of The Righteous BrothersSongwriter Interviews

Medley looks back on "Unchained Melody" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" - his huge hits from the '60s that were later revived in movies.

Waiting For The Break of Day: Three Classic Songs About All-Nighters

Waiting For The Break of Day: Three Classic Songs About All-NightersSong Writing

These Three famous songs actually describe how they were written - late into the evening.

Matt Sorum

Matt SorumSongwriter Interviews

When he joined Guns N' Roses in 1990, Matt helped them craft an orchestral sound; his mezzo fortes and pianissimos are all over "November Rain."