Following the metaphorical death of “The old Taylor” in 2017, Taylor Swift’s recently resurrected herself with her new music. “You Need to Calm Down,” her second single off her upcoming album, was released last Friday and a full music video followed on Monday.
Swift’s last album, “Reputation,” had a darker vibe to it. This was new for her, and not all of her fans liked the sudden change. But her newly released music takes a 180 degree turn and has a more positive and uplifting sound that resonates with her older albums, specifically “1989.”
The artist began promoting “You Need to Calm Down” three days prior to its release on her social media accounts. She teased her fans with pictures of little props and hints of the music video set with lyrics as the captions. Swift even had a small easter egg during her last Ellen interview when she invited Ellen to do a cameo in the new video. Another easter egg was in the “ME!” music video during a fight with Brendon Urie. At some point during their argument, he yells “you need to calm down” in French.
The song demands equality for the LGBTQ community, which was exactly what was portrayed in the music video. Swift is shown living in an LGBTQ trailer park with multiple celebrities and drag stars doing activities that everybody does, such as gardening, enjoying breakfast with friends, relaxing in the sun and more. Some of the celebrity cameos include YouTuber Hannah Hart, Hayley Kiyoko, Todrick Hall, “The Fab Five” from the show “Queer Eye,” drag queen RuPaul and talk show host Ellen Degeneres.
The music video ends on a more serious note as Swift asks fans to sign a virtual petition to help support the Equality Act, which grants LGBTQ community members equal rights in workplaces, schools and society in general.
Just like all of her videos, there are moments that stand out to be other potential easter eggs. The camera cuts to her holding a phone that says “Lover” on the case, which she recently announced is the name of her seventh album. At one point, the viewer sees Taylor from the back with a tattoo of a snake that becomes a butterfly, which is also in the beginning of the “ME!” video. Since she’s past the theme of snakes, perhaps a butterfly is the symbol for rebirth of the original Taylor Swift.
The video emphasizes a painting in her trailer home that says, “Mom, I am a rich man,” which could be disguised song lyrics or a song title –– something she’s done before. Further along, one of the cameos is Degeneres getting a tattoo that reads “Cruel Summer,” which also might hint toward another track on her next album.
“You Need to Calm Down” is focused on the idea of accepting people in the LGBTQ community and treating them the same as everyone else. They inncorporate the LGBTQ flag in the video, there are a few Drag references and the lyrics talk about how the lyrics involve references to being an ally including the organization GLAAD which is an LGBTQ alliance organization. It’s upbeat and fun, which is what everyone thinks of when Swift comes to mind. She’s a strong LGBTQ ally and many of her friends have come out, so it wasn’t much of a shock to the public that she released this track. The overall theme of the song is stopping hatred and being supportive.
The lyrics go, “Sunshine on the street at the parade / But you would rather be in the dark ages / Making that sign / Must've taken all night.” This could be her discussing Pride, a huge celebration for the LGBTQ community, and how some people try to protest it. She also adds to the video an angry group of protesters holding discriminatory signs, but everyone ignores them and proceeds to celebrate throughout the video.
“You Need to Calm Down” is not only a fun summer bop, but a way for Swift to make a statement about something she’s passionate about. Some fans may be excited to see her back in the game with two new singles and her new album, “Lover,” which is scheduled to be released Aug. 23.
Contact Gracie Brogowski at email@example.com. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.