We offer a new physical interpretation of the color shift between diarylmethane dyes and their azomethine analogues. We use an isolobal analogy between state-averaged complete active space self-consistent field solutions for corresponding methines and azomethines to show that the shift contains a significant contribution from configuration interaction between a methine-like ππ* excitation and an nπ* excitation out of the azomethine lone pair. The latter does not exist in the corresponding methine systems. This picture is qualitatively inconsistent with traditional models of the shift based on molecular orbital perturbation theory of independent π-electron Hamiltonians. A key prediction is the existence of a dipole-allowed band in the blue/near-UV spectra of the azomethines, which has polarization parallel to the lowest energy band. This forces a revision of past assumptions about the nature of the low-energy spectra of the azomethines. A band at the predicted energies has been observed in solution-state spectra.