Taylor Swift’s “Ronan” Lyrics Meaning

Professional musicians are such that they often resort to singing about very painful, even personal matters without having actually gone through those experiences themselves. Some pundits may consider these acts as being akin to artistic exploitation on their part. 

But in the case of “Ronan”, well, first of all we know that Taylor Swift has never had a son, much more one that suffered from terminal cancer. But she did literally base the lyrics of this song on the writings of someone who did, Maya Thompson, who was the mother of Ronan Thompson, i.e. the boy this song is named after. 

And, this is a very emotional topic even to write about. But at the end of the day, the preschooler did not survive being stricken with an illness known as neuroblastoma.

So as alluded to earlier, throughout that ordeal Maya maintained a blog. And it is from that site that these lyrics are/were taken. So that would be why for instance Taylor has consistently sought creative license from Maya in terms of the usage of Ronan. 

And it isn’t like Thompson is chillin’ off the proceeds. To the contrary, having to hear this song for Thompson was akin to reliving the experience, since these are, after all, her own words.

Thesis Sentiment

But in regards to the thesis sentiment of this track, it is not one of grievance per se. Rather, the ultimate conclusion is that even though Ronan was only around for a brief moment in time. That era represented the “best four years” in the life of the vocalist, his mother. Or viewed differently, no matter what she’s never going to forget him, not even for a second.

And that’s where we will conclude our analysis, because once again, this is a very emotional song, one that a listener needs to partake of in their own comfort zone if need be. And it’s not just us saying this, as Taylor herself has had the foresight to perform “Ronan” sparingly, when the situation calls for it. 

But conclusively, let’s say that the lyrics read the way one would more or less expect given the aforementioned premise.

Taylor Swift's "Ronan" Lyrics

Facts about “Ronan”

This is a track that Big Machine Records, Taylor Swift’s first label, put out on 8 September 2012, at the time being a standalone single. But “Ronan” managed to make headlines again in late 2021 due to its inclusion on the “Taylor’s Version” of Red, which came out via Republic Records on 12 November 2021. In other words, this song was not on the original Red, but it is part of Red (Taylor’s Version).

The original “Ronan” was produced exclusively by Taylor. And she also produced the 2021 re-recording, though that time working with Christopher Rowe.

Taylor wrote this song with Maya Thompson, i.e. the mother of the titular Ronan. 

And in terms of Swift’s beef with Big Machine Records that inspired the re-recording of “Ronan” and Red, Thompson has voiced that she is fully on the side of Taylor. Additionally, the songstress has shown Maya respect throughout the entire process of creating this song.

With its inclusion on the Red (Taylor’s Version), this song was also granted an official lyric video, which Thompson expressed appreciation for.

It was actually Taylor who went about hooking up with Maya, after reading a blog the latter maintained throughout Ronan’s battle with cancer. But that said, Maya was still in “utter frozen shock” upon discovering that Swift’s sympathy went as far as ‘writing a song for Ronan’.

As noted earlier, “Ronan” is not a regular part of Taylor Swift’s playlists. For example, she first performed it at an event called Stand Up to Cancer later in September of 2012.

“Ronan made it onto the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 and also did well on Billboard’s US Digital Song Sales listing, where it debuted and peaked at number 2. And this track also achieved RIAA gold certification in 2013.


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