Maroon

Album: Midnights (2022)
Charted: 3
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Here, Taylor Swift uses various shades of red to invoke memories of a past romance.

    The mark they saw on my collarbone
    The rust that grew between telephones
    The lips I used to call home
    So scarlet, it was maroon


    "Maroon" is a track from Swift's 10th album, Midnights. Swift released the album on October 21, 2022, almost exactly 10 years after she dropped Red on October 22, 2012. That album details the intense "red" emotions Swift felt over several relationships during its conception. The pop star does something similar on this synth-pop ballad.
  • Swifties spent hours going through Red's lyrics, trying to work out which ex-boyfriend each song was about. "Maroon" has fans playing the same guessing game. There are a few candidates for the subject of this song.

    1. Actor Jake Gyllenhaal, whom Swift dated for three months in 2010. Much of Red centers on the singer's breakup with Gyllenhaal, and there are a couple of potential clues the actor is the subject of this song too.

    When the morning came
    We were cleaning incense off your vinyl shelf

    On "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" Swift recalls Gyllenhaal's love of hipster indie records that are "much cooler than mine."

    The burgundy on my T-shirt
    When you splashed your wine into me

    Swift's Folklore track "The 1" is about a lost romance that some fans believe to be about Gyllenhaal. Both songs reference wine. (On "The 1" she sings, "Rosé flowing with your chosen family").

    2. English pop star Harry Styles, with whom Swift had a much-documented romance during the winter of 2012-13.

    Again we reference the "burgundy on my T-shirt" lyric. On the 1989 track "Clean," which is widely thought to be about Styles, Swift mentions a "wine-stained dress."

    The "rust that grew between telephones" lyric in the chorus implies it was a long-distance relationship. Styles, of course, hails from England.

    3. Singer-songwriter John Mayer, with whom Taylor had a brief relationship after they recorded a duet, "Half of My Heart," in 2009.

    There aren't any specific hints in the lyrics, but Mayer has synaesthesia, which means he sees music as colors.

    4. Though Midnights features Swift's usual first-person narratives, her previous two albums, Folklore and Evermore, focus on fictional narratives. Does this song continue along those lines?
  • Swift co-wrote and co-produced "Maroon" with her longtime collaborator Jack Antonoff.
  • Antonoff and his Bleachers' bandmate Evan Smith played all the instruments between them.

    Antonoff: Bass, electric guitar, piano, synthesizer and percussion
    Smith: Clarinet, flute, saxophone and organ

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Actors With Hit Songs

Actors With Hit SongsMusic Quiz

Many actors have attempted music, but only a few have managed a hit. Do you know which of these thespians charted?

Dino Cazares of Fear Factory

Dino Cazares of Fear FactorySongwriter Interviews

The guitarist/songwriter explains how he came up with his signature sound, and deconstructs some classic Fear Factory songs.

Dave Edmunds

Dave EdmundsSongwriter Interviews

A renowned guitarist and rock revivalist, Dave took "I Hear You Knocking" to the top of the UK charts and was the first to record Elvis Costello's "Girls Talk."

Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root

Michael Glabicki of Rusted RootSongwriter Interviews

Michael tells the story of "Send Me On My Way," and explains why some of the words in the song don't have a literal meaning.

Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper/Lou Reed)

Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper/Lou Reed)Songwriter Interviews

The co-writer/guitarist on many Alice Cooper hits, Dick was also Lou Reed's axeman on the Rock n' Roll Animal album.

Divided Souls: Musical Alter Egos

Divided Souls: Musical Alter EgosSong Writing

Long before Eminem, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj created alternate personas, David Bowie, Bono, Joni Mitchell and even Hank Williams took on characters.