Taylor Swift’s New Single Calls Out Anti-Gay Sentiment And Sexism And Fans Are Seriously Obsessed

    “Shade never made anybody less gay.”

    In an Instagram livestream yesterday, Taylor Swift ~finally~ announced the title and release date of her upcoming seventh album. It’s called Lover, and our ears will be blessed with all 18 tracks on Aug. 23.

    And THEN, as if she hadn’t given us enough already, Taylor went and dropped the second single from Lover at midnight.

    Big Machine / giphy.com

    The song is called “You Need to Calm Down,” and the single cover plays to the whole ~snakes to butterflies~ thing Taylor has been doing this era.

    Obviously, the song is a bop, but we need to focus on the lyrics for a second. Because even though Taylor said her new music had “political undertones”, she was completely lying about the “under” bit.

    Rich Fury / Getty Images

    In a video for Beats 1, Taylor explained that the song was a response to people “who put so much energy and effort into negativity”.

    “I’ve observed a lot of different people in our society who put so much energy and effort into negativity and it made me feel like, ‘you need to just calm down.’” Brand new @taylorswift13 is here. Check out #YouNeedToCalmDown: https://t.co/kskhSmhLrq #Lover

    For example, the first verse is a criticism of toxic online culture, calling out people who hide behind anonymous profiles to send hate.

    Genius / genius.com

    The bridge continues in the same vein, but specifically references society’s constant comparison of women in similar fields.

    Genius / genius.com

    Because, as we all know, Taylor is no longer here for feuding with other women, and recognises that we can have MULTIPLE QUEENS!!!

    But the thing fans are freaking out about most — and rightly so — is the second verse, where Taylor punches anti-gay sentiment in its metaphorical face.

    Genius / genius.com

    The verse references both LGBT pride parades and the people who show up to protest them, saying they're in the “dark ages”.

    When I first looked up the lyrics to the song about three minutes after it was released, it said “you could be glad”, and I was like, “that’s cool, I guess”. Then Taylor dropped the lyric video, and it turns out that’s not the right lyric AT ALL.

    Republic / youtube.com

    It turns out Taylor was actually referencing GLAAD, the organisation dedicated to fighting for LGBT equality.

    And then in the pre-chorus following the second verse, Taylor takes her final shot and knocks anti-gay sentiment out cold.

    Genius / genius.com

    Of course, this is Taylor Swift, so there are also some Easter eggs in the lyric video — like the fact that every instance of the letters “EA” in the second verse is highlighted in a different colour.

    The letters “EA” have been emphasized in Taylor’s lyric video, standing for the Equality Act! Watch the full lyric video here: https://t.co/W8W7dpAyjw

    Fans think Taylor is making a subtle reference to the Equality Act, which was the subject of her recent open letter to Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander.

    #lettertomysenator https://t.co/EKYMXZw5U9

    If you look closely, there’s also a subtle reference to LGBT pride on the single cover, which will ~probably~ appear in the music video Taylor’s releasing this coming Monday.

    Republic Records

    I think it’s safe to say we stan.

    Taylor: “The album has some political undertones.” Also Taylor: ARE YOU STUCK IN THE DARK AGE? PROTESTING HAPPINESS? BEING A LOSER? SHADE NEVER MADE ANYBODY LESS GAY! #YouNeedToCalmDown

    Taylor LITERALLY wrote in a SONG stop being homophobic online and at pride parades cause it won’t make anybody less gay I DONT KNOW A BETTER PERSON

    And people aren’t missing the fact that Taylor turned “you need to calm down” — a phrase often used to belittle those who are marginalised — into an empowering anthem for women and LGBT people.

    but @taylorswift13 writing a song like #YouNeedToCalmDown a phrase men use primarily against women who are outspoken, and spinning it to tell the men to calm down instead. We have to stan.

    WE LOVE YOU TAYLOR. ALSO, BUY “YOU NEED TO CALM DOWN” ON iTUNES. BYE.

    Ellie Bate is a celebrity reporter and talent coordinator at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

    Contact Ellie Bate at eleanor.bate@buzzfeed.com.

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