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Released: 2018

In the track “Wait” by Maroon 5, the band navigates through a tumultuous romantic landscape, filled with regret, pleas for redemption, and self-awareness. The protagonist is desperate to repair a relationship bruised by his past decisions, employing a blend of sensitivity and self-blame that echoes through the catchy pop beats.

The opening lines, “Dirty looks from your mother/Never seen you in a dress that color, no/It’s a special occasion/Not invited but I’m glad I made it,” signal the unfamiliar territory the vocalist finds himself in. He’s not on the best terms with his lover’s family, perhaps due to his flaws or past mistakes. His surprise at seeing her in a different colored dress may suggest she’s changed, becoming someone he no longer recognizes. At the same time, his uninvited presence at this special occasion underlines his desperate bid to make amends.

The chorus, “Wait, can you turn around, can you turn around?/Just wait, can we work this out, can we work this out?/Just wait, can you call me please? ‘Cause I wanna be with you” emphasizes the protagonist’s plea for another chance. Invoking the phrase “turn around” functions as both a literal request for the lover’s attention and a metaphorical plea for a change of heart. His constant asking for the woman to call him underlines his willingness to communicate and address the issues that led them here.

“I needed more than three or four to say this, oh,” is a clever reference to alcohol being used as a social lubricant and a source of false courage. It suggests the protagonist needed to be somewhat intoxicated to gather the courage to confront his lover and apologize for his actions.

The third verse shows us a shift in the lover’s attitude: “You say I’m just another bad guy/You say I’ve done a lot of things I can’t undo.” She has categorized him among her ‘bad exes’, and she believes his actions cannot be undone, further elevating the urgency in the repeated plea: “I’m beggin’, beggin’, beggin’, beggin’ you.”

Throughout ‘Wait’, Maroon 5 layers self-awareness with contrition, underscored by a tone of hopefulness. While the protagonist recognizes his mistakes and is ready to face the consequences, he also ardently hopes for a second chance, begging his love to ‘wait’ and work things out. Through insistent pleas, clever metaphors, and a raw, emotional narrative, this pop anthem speaks to the universal experience of remorse, reconciliation, and the human capacity for forgiveness.

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