The Meaning Of Taylor Swift’s “You Need To Calm Down” Calls Out LGBTQ Hate
The new Taylor Swift era has officially begun. The "ME!" singer dropped a new single on Friday, June 14, at midnight, just a few hours after announcing the name and release date of her next album. The new track is called "You Need To Calm Down," and already it has a noticeably different meaning than her past music. And by the looks of fan reactions on Twitter, the meaning of Taylor Swift's "You Need To Calm Down" has them pumped over its unapologetically queer message.
To catch you all up, Swift did an Instagram live at 5 p.m. on June 13 to reveal the title of her new album, its release date, and announce that "You Need To Calm Down" was dropping that night. The new album is called Lover, it has 18 tracks (two of which are "ME!" and "You Need To Calm Down"), and it's coming out on August 23. In her Instagram live, Swift pointed out to fans that a way to remember the release date is August is the eighth month of the year, two plus three is five, and eight plus five is... 13. Homegirl's favorite number.
The Instagram live also came with the reveal that the "You Need To Calm Down" music video will be coming out after the song's release, because she apparently wanted fans to sit with the lyrics of the song before seeing the video.
You can listen to the full track here.
Y'all, I would not call myself a fan of Taylor Swift... but this song is a damn bop. It's bright, colorful, and it's going to be fun as hell to sing along to. And the lyrics are clearly written for her LGBTQ+ fans.
In the song's first verse, Swift sings about hate pointed at her, saying people need to chill with the hate. In the song's second verse, Swift sings, about hate pointed at queer people.
You are somebody that we don't know / But you're coming at my friends like a missile / Why are you mad? / When you could be GLAAD?
Yeah, she literally referenced queer advocacy group GLAAD in a song. That's gay.
The verse goes on to seemingly mention Pride parades. Swift sings,
Sunshine in the street at the parade / But you would rather be in the dark age / Making that sign / Must've taken all night
Pretty apt, seeing this song was dropped during Pride month.
The next set of lyrics are going to be the lyrics the gays all scream during her concerts on the next tour. Like, scream.
You just need to take several seats and then try to restore the peace and control your urges to scream about all the people you hate / 'Cause shade never made anybody less gay
No, it did not!
Then comes in the catchy as hell chorus.
So oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh / You need to calm down / You're being too loud / And I'm just like oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh (Oh) / You need to just stop, like can you just not step on his gown? / You need to calm down
That gown lyric changes in each verse of the song. In the first verse, Swift sings, "Like can you just not step on my gown?" In the second, she sings, "Like can you just not step on his gown?" And in the last chorus (after she sang a verse about women), she sings, "Like can you just not step on our gowns? You need to calm down.
The song about women goes,
And we see you over there on the internet / Comparing all the girls who are killing it / But we figured you out / We all know now / We all got crowns / You need to calm down
The message in this song is clear. Swift, who has finally started doing public political activism after years of people begging her to take a stand about something, has said loud and clear that homophobia and sexism aren't welcome with her. And the fact that she released it on Donald Trump's birthday is just *chef's kiss*.
Safe to say her fans (and GLAAD) are pleased.
Some fair criticism about this song would be that the lyrics seem to be largely referencing cisgender queer people. This song is a big step in the right direction for Swift, though, leaving lots more room to grow on this front.
But f*ck if this song isn't catchy.