April 11, 2021

Are Taylor Swift’s ‘Marjorie’ Lyrics About Her Late Grandmother?

4 min read

Taylor Swift has written songs about longtime boyfriend Joe Alwyn, her mother Andrea Swift, and even the eccentric heiress Rebekah Harkness. But on her latest surprise album, evermore, Swift sings about her late grandmother for the first time. When the track list for Swift’s ninth record was released, fans quickly guessed that “Marjorie” referred to the singer’s late grandmother, Marjorie Finlay.

Swifties’ theories turned out to be correct when the album was released at midnight on Friday. In the emotional track, co-written by Swift and The National’s Aaron Dessner, she addresses her late grandmother’s presence in her life. “And if I didn’t know better/I’d think you were talking to me now/If I didn’t know better/I’d think you were still around,” Swift sings. In the chorus, she continues this theme with the lyrics, “What died didn’t stay dead/You’re alive, you’re alive in my head.”

Ahead of the album’s release, Swift addressed the inspiration for “Marjorie” on Twitter, writing that the track is, “One starring my grandmother, Marjorie, who still visits me sometimes… if only in my dreams.” According to The Independent, Finlay was born in Memphis and her time as an opera singer helped encourage Swift to become a musician. She passed away in June 2003 in Swift’s hometown of Reading, PA, per the outlet.

At one point in the track, Swift sings, “And if I didn’t know better/I’d think you were singing to me now.” If fans listen closely, they will actually hear Finlay’s voice in the song. As credited at the end of the lyric video for “Marjorie,” which includes personal photos of Swift and her grandmother, Finlay provides background vocals for her namesake song.

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Another signal that “marjorie” is an important track for Swift is that it’s number 13 on the album. That’s a lucky number for the singer, but it was also the placement of “epiphany” off of her album folklore. In that song, Swift paid tribute to her late grandfather Dean and his military service. Clearly, the singer holds onto the memories of both grandparents, including the advice Finlay gave her that opens the song: “Never be so kind/You forget to be clever/Never be so clever/You forget to be kind.”

You can read the lyrics, via Genius, below and watch the music video tribute, too:

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Verse 1
Never be so kind
You forget to be clever
Never be so clever
You forget to be kind

Pre-Chorus


And if I didn’t know better
I’d think you were talking to me now
If I didn’t know better
I’d think you were still around

Chorus


What died didn’t stay dead
What died didn’t stay dead
You’re alive, you’re alive in my head
What died didn’t stay dead
What died didn’t stay dead
You’re alive, so alive

Verse 2


Never be so politе
You forget your power
Nevеr wield such power
You forget to be polite

Pre-Chorus


And if I didn’t know better
I’d think you were listening to me now
If I didn’t know better
I’d think you were still around

Chorus


What died didn’t stay dead
What died didn’t stay dead
You’re alive, you’re alive in my head
What died didn’t stay dead
What died didn’t stay dead
You’re alive, so alive

Bridge


The autumn chill that wakes me up
You loved the amber skies so much
Long limbs and frozen swims
You’d always go past where our feet could touch
And I complained the whole way there
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
Watched as you signed your name: Marjorie
All your closets of backlogged dreams
And how you left them all to me

Chorus


What died didn’t stay dead
What died didn’t stay dead
You’re alive, you’re alive in my head
What died didn’t stay dead
What died didn’t stay dead
You’re alive, so alive

Outro


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

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