We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
No. 2, “Molly Maroon,” a cheery-sounding folk-pop tale of a woman who’s paralyzed with worry, preferring to live in dreams where she can remain young. “But underneath the blankets and the sheets/She spends her days in dreams…Well, oh my Molly, everyone knows you but everyone needs/To pretend she’s only…sweet sixteen,” sings writer-guitarist Aaron Estes. Unlike Molly, the guitar- and accordion-driven song feels jubilant, culminating with a chorus of Estes’ friends singing and clapping.
Estes, 26, a Petworth resident, explains there’s no real Molly Maroon. “Molly Maroon is a commentary on being unnecessarily worried,” he says. “She’s so worried about getting older and not accomplishing anything that she can’t even get out of bed. And she just dreams that she’s young.” Estes admits that many Bellman Barker songs are “about me or us or the band and how we feel,” but he prefers to mask that. Creating characters as vehicles is “an easy way to talk about whatever you want to talk about. It feels silly for me to write, ‘I feel this way.’ ”
Not only does Estes feel less silly speaking through fictional characters, he argues that it also makes it easier for people to relate to his music. “To write stories about other people, it feels easier to connect to whoever’s listening.” And it certainly worked for Estes’ mom. “Molly Maroon” is her favorite song on the album. “She just says, ‘I feel like I know that person.’ She’s like, ‘I feel so terrible for Molly Maroon,’ ” says Estes.